OOIDA Challenges ELD Mandate as Unconstitutional

March 31, 2016

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed an appeal to challenge a new regulation mandating electronic logging devices for interstate truckers, saying the device won’t improve safety and is in violation of constitutional rights.

The OOIDA represents small-business truckers and in its appeal of the ELD mandate called the devices arbitrary and capricious, saying that it violates 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. The association stated its arguments in a legal brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

“The agency provided no proof of their claims that this mandate would improve highway safety,” said Jim Johnston, OOIDA president and CEO. “There is simply no proof that the costs, burdens and privacy infringements associated with this mandate are justified.”

The ELD Mandate affects an estimated 3 million interstate drivers of vehicles manufactured after model year 2000. By December 2017, drivers will have to replace paper logbooks with electronic devices. The rule strictly prohibits using ELDs to harass drivers and in most cases a carrier would not be required to retain supporting documents verifying on-duty driving time.

The association previously challenged a similar mandate in August 2011 and the court ruled in favor of OOIDA, agreeing that prolonged use of GPS trackers without a warrant fell within the 4th Amendment’s meaning. When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the latest ELD mandate in December, the OOIDA filed a petition for review the next day.

At the time, the OOIDA president said that the ELD mandate could have “the single largest, most negative impact on the industry than anything done by FMCSA,” and that the association intended to fight it.

The association is also arguing that ELDs are no more reliable than paper logbooks because the mandate fails to comply with a congressional statute requiring ELDs to accurately and automatically record changes in drivers’ duty status.

“For most truckers, a truck is not just a vehicle but is also an office and a home away from home,” said Johnston. “This mandate means monitoring the movement and activities of real people for law enforcement purposes and is an outrageous intrusion of the privacy of professional truckers.”


  1. 1. Barry Wertz [ April 01, 2016 @ 04:33AM ]

    As a Safety Professional and a CDL-A driver, it is disappointing that a respected organization such as OOIDA would not support a requirement for electronic logs in every truck. While the basis of the fight against ELD's is allegedly a violation of our civil rights, any one with any knowledge of the industry and how it works really knows that it is about money. ELD's will impact the productivity of drivers and companies that currently do not work within the Hours of Service Regulations. I believe it is time for Organizations like OOIDA to start dealing with the true issue and stop trying to muddy the water with these lame arguments. If they put have of the energy into providing support and information on how to operate profitably within the regulations, our industry would improve greatly.

    If we as an Industry are ever going to garner the respect that is so well deserved by the hardworking Men and who drive trucks on our Nation's highways, we need to show that we are accountable to the regulations that are in place. The easiest way to do that is to use technology to demonstrate that Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators are working within those regulations. Whether we like regulations or not, they are in place and we need to work with them. A majority of trucks on the road have electronic logs. Let's stop wasting time on these frivolous arguments and get to the real issue of improving our safety on the roadways.

  2. 2. Robert Clarke [ April 01, 2016 @ 05:03AM ]

    I'm glad OOIDA filed the law suite. The imposition of this mandate and its costs on the small company to include implementation of equipment, training of drivers for no cost benefit in safety as to which FMCSA does not have data is way out of bounds. These devices are designed for the over the road company with assigned drivers to assigned vehicles - i.e for the large transportation company. The rule does not look at the costs involved in moving from paperlogs (which are cheap) and readily available for review at time stop to units that may cost upwards of $800/vehicle to get started an then monthly service fees on top of that - not to mention the cost of training a fleet of drivers who have never used an electronic system of logging where as they know how to complete a simple log book page. I believe this has nothing to do with safety but is being pushed by lobbyists of the big companies who wish to squeeze out competition, manufacturers of the equipment who want to sell their products and personnel in the government who look to gain more control over business. this mandate has nothing to do with safety!

  3. 3. Timothy [ April 01, 2016 @ 05:05AM ]

    I agree. Also please do not forget the hard working women in the industry. If every driver in America ran legal, it would not take long for the industry to see the real issues lay with shippers and receivers, dispatchers who were not a driver first. Greed, many things will be negated by this mandate, and driver pay will have to increase, because the light shall finally shine on the issues. Time stamped BOL's also would go a long way to ensuring drivers received fair pay for detention and what have you.

  4. 4. TJ [ April 01, 2016 @ 05:58AM ]

    I agree with Timothy.... shippers and receivers cause most of the troubles that drivers face today in order to keep compliant with HOS rules and delivering the product on time while staying with in the 14 hours, as carriers we are at the mercy of the delayed practices of the shippers and receivers, either they are going to have to get their loading and unloading down to a science or the carriers are going to have to start governing when their own detention starts instead of the shippers and receivers (now) leave us at the mercy of them getting the first 3 hours before detention starts for the driver, there is going to be ALOT of product that doesn't reach it's destination on time while the drivers will be parked at their docks when the ELD prompts them that they are out of time

  5. 5. SLM [ April 01, 2016 @ 06:18AM ]

    The transportation industry as a whole has to be one of the worst industries to work in. Transportation companies have never treated their people from the office, to the shop, drivers, and everyone in between with any respect. Unfortunately, it is still one of the few remaining industries that people of any background and without a formal education can make a decent living. Once you enter the industry it is difficult to get out. I've been in the industry over 20 years and have seen all side from running a trucking company to procuring transportation as a shipper. Driving a truck has got to be one of the worst jobs on the planet. No amount of money is worth living in the cab of a truck but if you're going to do it you need to comply the regulations. OOIDA needs to accept that ELD are going to be part of the industry and move on with helping owner operators deal with the regulation.

  6. 6. BarbRRB [ April 01, 2016 @ 06:25AM ]

    America the great has become upside down. It is about freedom. It's about choice and with our Government over regulating this industry. The professional truck driver's on America's highway are being micro managed by the government. Drivers are being told what to do and how to do it. We are at work 24/7 while in that truck under a load. Is not a home rolling down the highway, what I use to see it as. The regulations have nothing to do with how that driver feels the particular day or slept the night before. Having flexibility in this industry is what we need. Not the "we say so" people at FMCSA paying millions for a study then changes the Laws, we must follow. Then years later we find the flaws in their million dollar study. Every truck driver is different, we are human. We are not robots nor are we perfect.
    People can say this is all about safety and driver will no longer cheat on hours of service. Bottom line... the cheaters will always cheat. The CDL program was to put only certified driver on the roads. We see how that all worked out... No matter what ever comes out of this ELD mandate. People realize the criminals will continue to be criminals. The drivers who work ethically and live by FMCSA regulations, they will continue. Then there are drivers who take that extra mile or the extra hour and makes it home or delivers that load on schedule because of not feeling well a few days before. Meanwhile our Government continues to eat away at our rights as American citizens, one law at a time. This should not be a law, it should be a choice.

  7. 7. Patrick [ April 01, 2016 @ 06:49AM ]

    @Barry, it is easy to project your ideas on the perfect world, considering your a safety dept, recruiter,and a strong mandate for pushing E-logs which makes your job so much easier but the average person driving a truck and smaller companies this is a burden, telling when a driver can sleep and cant,,climbing in the cab to download the logs,, give us paper any day.. were not all pencil pushers at a safety desk in Pa..

  8. 8. JAW [ April 01, 2016 @ 06:55AM ]

    Before our company decided to implement electronic logging devices (ELDs), I reviewed seven companies similar to us that had already started using them (and had been for more than a year). I looked at information on the CSA / SMS for the number of accidents they were involved in before using ELDs and afterwards. I went back as far as I could on the system and did a "snapshot" of every six months of data. It was very clear to see that ELDs greatly reduce the number of Hours of Service violations for a company and the drivers. However, the number of Accidents they were involved in did not change much over time. Some went down by 1 or 2 acidents, some went up by 1 or 2, and others remained the same. The accident numbers did not vary much at all.

    My hope is that ELDs will reduce accidents. But all I have seen so far is the reduction in Hours of Service violations.

    I do worry about the devices being another distraction in the cab of the truck. I know it cannot be used while the truck is moving (drivers cannot make entries), but the drivers do LOOK at the device to see when they need to take the next break, driving time is up, etc. This bothers me.

  9. 9. Pat Beggs [ April 01, 2016 @ 07:20AM ]

    Do not let them keep trying to control us

  10. 10. Lee Lenard [ April 01, 2016 @ 11:50AM ]

    Robert, Barb, Patrick -- wish everyone would read each of these 3 times and analyze what they are saying.......Yes, ELD's are a forced on trucking/drivers so that companies manufacturing the units, providing computer recording services, and most of all trying to keep the thing functioning properly or at all make millions of $ taking away from driver earnings.. This is the most dangerous mandate FMCSA has ever issued. Forces drivers to speed, run red lights, make risky turns and become more aggressive than ever to comply with the "no forgiving" windows of just a few minutes. DANGEROUS. Need placards on each truck with ELD same as on hazardous materials. "BEWARE DRIVER FORCED TO OPERATE WITH ELD!!!"! They should be allowed for those companies with drivers who do not have ability to do math and operate at 60MPH. ELD also works for companies that drivers drive no more than 8-10 hours per day and never work over 12 hours if the company has a large Data Processing department and needs something for programmers to do.

  11. 11. Carlton [ April 01, 2016 @ 07:24PM ]

    I got mall the expense I need and this is nothing but companies getting stuff mandated on us for them to sell. I am not into smart phone modern technology and know nothing about this stuff. All the people I work with , including me, will quit when this happens. ATA lobbing for this to put the small truckers out of business. Barry, I hope I never make contact with you in Pa. You are worthless. I been in business close to forty years and now you want me put out.

  12. 12. Trescott [ April 04, 2016 @ 06:51AM ]

    The Garland nomination to the supreme court was a reward for non random panel assignments in our hours of service case. Complaints of judicial misconduct were dismissed the day before he was nominated. The opinion was not released until after the Darling hearing and was signed the same day it was announced. As the OOIDA said, it violates our rights to due process.

  13. 13. Laurinda [ April 05, 2016 @ 08:16AM ]

    You CANNOT program a human body! This is what ELD's will do. It is so sad that it has come to this! Many more accidents will happen. Until shippers and receivers "change" and high amount of detention paid, United States will lose the quality trucking company's. Such a sad, sad, rule!

  14. 14. Lowell [ April 06, 2016 @ 10:23AM ]

    After being an owner/operator for over 40 years, I have to say that I agree with Barry. Who better than our Federal Government to know when we should sleep? And have you noticed that when there is a massive pile-up on the highways it is not usually the owner/operators who are involved, but the big trucking companies. (I bet they are the companies that do not use ELD'S) I always thought I was driving smarter to stop and sleep when I would get tired, but now I know I can safely drive because my 11 hours are not used yet, and even tho my older body says I am tired, because "big brother" tells me I can continue, I guess I will. Even tho I have never had an accident or even a speeding ticket, I now know a better way to drive.

  15. 15. JK [ April 08, 2016 @ 02:20PM ]

    I tend to agree with both sides of the coin. As a small carrier it appears that the increasing cost is driving them right out of the business. Will the use of ELD's reduce the number of accidents on the road? Only time will tell, but at what cost. A perfect example is the 30 minute break rule. If anyone in or out of the industry thinks this rule had an effect, they need to have their head examined. It appears the rules for transportation companies continuously change while the majority of the accidents happen in personnel vehicles, but these rules never change. My personal opinion is all highway transportation needs to be looked at not just the trucking industry.

  16. 16. Kevin [ April 13, 2016 @ 02:17PM ]

    Ive been O/O most my life and over 30yrs I haven't ever been told I got to sleep and have to take a break when I only got started. The ELD tells me what to do and when so when is it going to start paying my bills that I cant anymore because I'm listening to It? The whole thing yes is a good Idea for Local or regional drivers that go home every night because they are the ones who are having most of the accidents when they get into a hurry to be home for dinner and time to go out for the night. " According to most accident statistics"

  17. 17. Douglas [ May 28, 2016 @ 09:05AM ]

    The ELD mandate is to ensure a separation of the classes . As a owner operator,
    I was removed from my dedicated lane by my broker due to being two hours late to a commercial roofing job.
    i was later told by the same broker that removed me, that had I been a company with more than one driver, they would have continued using my company and just used a different driver. The ELD will cause a larger percentage of loads to be late due to unplanned circumstances, traffic jam, weather, construction, loading delays.With the ELD being a down to the millisecond device, this will be a device promoting big industrial trucking companies and team driving and does nothing towards the betterment of the single owner operator. Big money creates laws. Greed accepts and complies.

  18. 18. Dominic Decapolis [ August 08, 2016 @ 12:38PM ]

    Perhaps the Feds should refocus their own proven studies that 75% of accidents nationally are caused by passenger cars(4 wheelers) If they mandated a safety course for passenger car motorists, that taught them in detail the differences between operation of class 8 diesel trucks with example reverse engine compression brakes(Jake brakes), so that a truck they're behind on a hill or flat may slow down considerably without engaging brake lights. Many car drivers are conditioned to only react to brake lights in front of them. Is one reason I engage hazard 4-ways when slow downs are imminent ahead, i.e. on LA area 5000 mile freeway system, by the way average speed about 18mph. Also in turns, the little signs on trailers aren't working. Car motorists need to understand offtracking (wide turns) so they don't come up on right while truck is turning Also car motorists need to back off and get behind a truck and then wait to pass safely on left, trucks are travelling generally in right hand lane and DO have the right of way by law, but most cars attempt to come up on right side hoping to pass, roll the dice they make it, or foolishly think they can coerce the 70 ft and possibly 80,000 truck to jump over into next lane. Also car motorists need to get behind a truck and slow down when they're coming up on their exit, not speed up and cowboy it at the last second cutting off truck, possibly clipping front of truck and spinning out or flipping etc. Oh also cars need to get off the corner of the trailer onleft side of trucks, so common in freeway driving, (stuck travelling on corner of truck day or worse at night blinding truck driver in mirror so he cant gauge wgere they are exactly, especially if needs to make emergency lane change for law enforcement or roadside worker vehicles or common other trucks or motorists pulled over on side in narrow breakdown lane for whatever reason, they need to just safely and quickly pass and get in front of truck using their signal as required by law (code 9 in CA, no signal or improper signal)leaving plenty of space, not cutting in because others are tailgating, not travel indefinitely beside truck because they think is cool? These are just a few things the gov't should make a mandatory course for car drivers, then see if accidents decrease expidentially, which they would. Teach these cars also that the truck is not their parents! Other words testing the truck at every chance, bringing their childhood into adult driving.

  19. 19. Roseanne [ September 15, 2016 @ 10:34AM ]

    You know this already, but thought to send the article anyway - I liked best the comments. There is one that talks a lot about shippers and receivers being the culprit and unfair detention terms.


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