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FMCSA electronic logging devices mandate upheld

A federal court of appeals has upheld a lower court ruling in favor of the mandate requiring truck drivers to track hours of service statuses with electronic time logging devices. The rule takes effect in December 2017, by which time most trucks in New York and across the country are required to have the devices on board.

The lawsuit was filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association on behalf of two truck drivers. The OOIDA argued the federal mandate was a violation of truck drivers' Fourth Amendment privacy rights and that the rule failed to meet Congressional standards.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected both arguments in upholding the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandate. The same court had declared a previous version of the rule unconstitutional because it failed to protect truckers from harassment by carriers. The court voted unanimously in favor of the new rule.

The mandate does not apply to trucks with model years prior to 2000, which can still be operated without an electronic time logger. By the terms of the mandate, most truck drivers who currently use paper time logs will be required to switch to an electronic logging device on or before Dec. 18, 2017.

The mandate is designed to combat truck driver fatigue by carefully tracking the number of hours that are spen on the road. Existing federal regulations already require mandatory rest periods, but many accidents are the result of this issue. Occupants of other vehicles who have been injured in a collision caused by a drowsy truck driver may want to meet with a lawyer to discuss the advisability of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver and the carrier.

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