In an important decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago (covering Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin) upheld a federal mandate that requires truckers to install electronic logging devices (ELD). Unless the plaintiff in the case (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association) appeals the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, the mandate will become effective as of December 18, 2017. The new regulation specifically exempts trucks manufactured before the year 2000. Drivers of trucks with ELDs will no longer be required to maintain paper logs.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association had argued that the proposed mandate violated the Fourth Amendment and that it didn’t meet standards set by Congress for an ELD mandate. In their decision, the judges wrote that the mandate “is not arbitrary or capricious, nor does it violate the Fourth Amendment.” The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the same court that threw out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed 2010 ELD mandate, on the grounds that it intruded on drivers’ privacy, opening the door to potential harassment of drivers by trucking companies. In the view of the court, the revised mandate sufficiently addresses those concerns.
In truck accident cases, the new ELD mandate should make it easier for plaintiffs’ personal injury attorneys to prove negligence on the part of truck drivers and/or trucking companies.