Trucker association sues FMCSA over electronic logbook mandate

Posted on December 16, 2015 · Posted in News

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said the new rule requiring electronic logging devices is “the most outrageous intrusion into the rights of professional truckers imaginable and will do nothing at all to improve highway safety.”

BY CHRIS DUPIN |WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2015

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has filed a lawsuit over a new regulation announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requiring electronic logging devices (ELDs) or “electronic logbooks.”

“This rule has the potential to have the single largest, most negative impact on the industry than anything else done by FMCSA,” said Jim Johnston, OOIDA President and CEO. “We intend to fight it with everything we have available.”

FMCSA announced the final rule last week that mandates the use of ELDs last week saying they “will improve roadway safety by employing technology to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations that prevent fatigue.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said pen and pencil on-duty/off-duty logs for truck and bus drivers in use since 1938 are complex and “virtually impossible to verify.”

“Automated technology not only brings logging records into the modern age, it also allows roadside safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives at risk,” said Foxx.

The FMCSA also claims use of ELDs “will result in an annual net benefit of more than $1 billion – largely by reducing the amount of required industry paperwork. It will also increase the efficiency of roadside law enforcement personnel in reviewing driver records. Strict protections are included that will protect commercial drivers from harassment.”

OOIDA said ELDs will be required for all interstate commerce in trucks that are model year 2000 and newer and that “FMCSA is mandating that truck drivers use ELDs to track their record of duty status and compliance with HOS regulations even though such devices can only track movement of a vehicle and approximate location.”

OOIDA said it has previously challenged a similar mandate in the courts and that in August 2011, 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals vacated a proposed electronic logbook rule based on the argument of harassment of drivers.

OOIDA said the petition for review that it has filed this time with the 7th Circuit “does not outline the arguments that will be used to challenge the final rule. Arguments will be provided in subsequent filings and during oral arguments in front of the court.”

“This regulation is absolutely the most outrageous intrusion into the rights of professional truckers imaginable and will do nothing at all to improve highway safety. In fact, we firmly believe it will do exactly the opposite by placing even more pressure and stress on drivers than they already deal with,” Johnston said.

The OOIDA says it has 150,000 members and represents the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers.

In contrast, the American Trucking Associations hailed the ELD rule as “a historic step forward for the industry” and a top priority for the ATA since 2010.

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves predicted “This regulation will change the trucking industry – for the better – forever. An already safe and efficient industry will get more so with the aid of this proven technology.”

Pat Thomas, senior vice president of state government affairs for UPS and chairman of the ATA said “an ELD mandate will make our industry even safer than it is today so we are grateful to FMCSA for advancing this important regulation.”