Electronic logging device rule beats challenge

California truck drivers and their employers might want to know about a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit that was handed down in late October. The court upheld the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's rule mandating the installation and use of electronic logging devices on trucks instead of the paper log system that had previously been used by many companies.

The mandate had an effective date of Dec. 18, 2017. With the court's ruling, that date remains in place, but it continues to exempt trucks with model years earlier than 2000. The electronic logging devices track when trucks are in service, preventing violations of hours of service rules and logbook falsifications. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association had filed a lawsuit which was the subject of the appeal against the FMCSA for two drivers. The organization claimed that the rule violated the drivers' Fourth Amendment rights to privacy.

The parties made oral arguments on Sept. 13, and the court issued its ruling on Oct. 31. It held that the rule did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The court had previously ruled in 2010 that an earlier version of the mandate did violate the Fourth Amendment because of the use of cameras under that version. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has not said whether it will appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.

It is hoped that an effect of the rule will be to cut down on accidents that are caused by truck driver fatigue. However, it is unlikely that it will totally eliminate them, and occupants of other vehicles who have been seriously injured in such a collision may want to meet with an attorney in order to see how best to seek compensation for their out-of-pocket medical bills and other losses that they have incurred.

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