Federal Trucking E-Log Mandate Set to Start in December after Supreme Court Rejects Challenge
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Federal Trucking E-Log Mandate Set to Start in December after Supreme Court Rejects Challenge

Wednesday, August 30, 2017By Nina Shapirshteyn

Big changes are now in place pushing the trucking industry to adopt electronic logging devices (ELD) for documenting hours on the road instead of the formerly used paper-log system. While the initiative has found much support in most sectors of the trucking industry, resistance in equal measure has come from certain independent drivers who consider ELDs to be too intrusive.

A trade group by the name of Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), representing more than 150,000 small-time truckers, had their petition to stop the federal rules mandating use of ELDs rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Their arguments that the ELD rule would violate truck drivers’ privacy and cause harassment of the drivers fell on deaf ears.

The challenge to this federal mandate having been denied, the rule is now set to take effect on December 18 this year.

The American Trucking Association and large carriers such as UPS and FedEx favor the rule, since it will curb the opportunity for drivers to fudge their hours-of-service, as they could with the old paper-log mechanism.

The OOIDA, while objecting to the burden the rules place on small companies and independent truckers, also considers the rules as a way for the big players in the industry to push small operators out of the market. A spokesperson for the OOIDA characterized the new rules as a “regulatory burden heaped upon an already over-regulated industry.”

However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is not backing down. It has already estimated the number of trucking firms requiring installation of the ELDs at about 500,000. It has also set standards for device manufacturers to ensure their compliance with the technical specifications outlined for the devices.

FMCSA’s aggression on this front is understandable – it believes the ELD system will help reduce the number of overall crashes and injuries while saving more lives annually by fundamentally working on driver distraction issues and limiting hours-on-the-road. Presently, the light vehicle market, especially autos, with their adaptive cruise control, blind spot warnings, automatic braking and other alert-mechanisms has seen a drop in crashes.

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