Truckers on Both Sides of ELD Legal Battle
A federal mandate published at the end of 2015 will require trucks to adopt electronic logging devices by the end of 2017. But those within the industry aren’t waiting that long to make their voices heard on this issue. Many carriers have already adopted these devices, and the feelings about them have been mixed to say the least. Court battles have already begun, with two parties filing briefs in support of the mandate.
However, not all of the responses have been positive. While these carrier-backed organizations have shown their approval of the mandate, other trucker-based groups have brought up grievances about the difficulty these devices present when it comes to scheduling. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a lawsuit against the mandate in March, arguing that the bill’s capricious nature wouldn’t promote safety but would violate privacy. The ATA supported the mandate in spite of OOIDA’s claims that ELDs violated the 4th amendment.
The ATA filed a brief which argues that the rule will have benefits in the field and will aid compliance with hours of service limits. These limits, which are set by the Department of Transportation, were purportedly established for two main reasons. The first is to protect employees from unfair schedules and overly-difficult routes. Many believe that drivers were pressured into these situations by trucking companies.
The other reason for the limit was to cut down on fatigue-related accidents resulting from drivers ignoring mandatory rest periods. While the ATA has voiced their approval of the mandate, some believe that this is only because ELDs will make it more difficult for smaller carriers and independent drivers to operate. This in turn eliminates competition for larger fleets. The debate is still open on ELDs and the mandates that create them, it seems that the disagreements will continue about the topic of these devices.