After hearing oral arguments September 13, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals voted unanimously yesterday, October 31, to uphold the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) final rule mandating electronic logging devices or ELDs in commercial trucks. The rule will now go into effect on December 18, 2017. The decision does not change the rule’s exemption for pre-2000 year-model trucks, which are allowed to operate without an ELD. The mandate affects an estimated 3 million interstate drivers of vehicles manufactured after model year 2000.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a lawsuit on behalf of two truckers in March in an attempt to have the mandate overturned. But OOIDA was unable to convince the court of its arguments that the rule violates truckers’ Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. OOIDA also claimed the rule didn’t meet standards set by Congress for an ELD mandate an argument the court also rejected. OOIDA had hoped its legal challenge would result in the rule being vacated a second time.
The rule “is not arbitrary or capricious, nor does it violate the Fourth Amendment,” the 7th circuit judges wrote in their decision. The decision was issued by circuit judges William Bauer, Michael Kanne and David Hamilton. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the same court that tossed out FMCSA’s 2010-publishes ELD mandate on the grounds that the rule didn’t do enough to protect truckers from harassment by carriers via the devices.
In response to the ruling, OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston said: “We are disappointed and strongly disagree with the court’s ruling. Because this issue is of vital importance to our members and all small business truckers, we are reviewing our next steps to continue our challenge against this regulation.” The American Trucking Associations, whose Deputy General Counsel Rich Pianka had been pretty confident that the judges wouldn’t overturn the rule, expressed pleasure at the outcome, saying through a spokesman: “ATA is pleased that the court has cleared the way for this important regulation and we look forward to its implementation.”
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the highest court in the country next to the Supreme Court OOIDA still has the option to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
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