Case on ELD mandate in federal court Sept. 13

The federal court overseeing the lawsuit challenging the U.S. DOT’s electronic logging device mandate has scheduled oral arguments for the case to be heard in court on Sept. 13. The owner-operator plaintiffs in the case hope to convince the court to strike down the mandate, while the DOT hopes to convince the court to uphold it.

The case will be heard by the three-judge Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals at the main courtroom in Chicago.

 The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the lead plaintiff in the case. OOIDA’s backing owner-operators Mark Elrod and Richard Pingel, who are also plaintiffs in the case. The trio successfully challenged the DOT’s prior attempt at an e-log mandate.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a rule in December 2015 that will force most truckers required to keep records of duty status to use ELDs to track hours of service compliance. The rule takes effect December 18, 2017.

The DOT and the FMCSA — defendants in the case — say the mandate will improve hours of service compliance, create a level playing field for all carriers and will improve highway safety.

FMCSA also said in its court filings that truckers should have lower expectations of privacy, given the “long tradition of close government supervision” of the industry, the agency wrote in its 60-page court brief.

OOIDA filed its suit in March, arguing the mandate violates truckers’ Fourth Amendment rights to privacy and protections against illegal search and seizure, as the mandate effectively calls for truckers’ locations to be tracked in real time.

The plaintiffs also argue the rule doesn’t benefit safety and places an unfair cost of compliance on small carriers.

OOIDA has until Aug. 8 to respond to FMCSA’s brief, which was filed June 15.