The seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that most professional truck drivers currently using paper logs to track their hours-of-service compliance must transition to an electronic logging device by Dec. 18, 2017. The Truckload Carriers Association agrees with the decision, which mirrors TCA’s own ELD policy, established by its Regulatory Policy Committee and approved by the Board of Directors in 2011.
The ruling upholds the Final Rule on ELDs that was originally published in December 2015 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, on behalf of two truckers, had filed a lawsuit in March 2016 attempting to overturn the mandate. However, on Oct. 31, 2016, the court rejected OOIDA’s claims.
“I can remember a time when we referred to this technology as EOBRs (electronic on-board recorders) and opposed them,” said TCA Chairman Russell Stubbs. “However, our members, being the innovators that they are, recognized the need for such technology, tested it, adopted it, and became leaders in a field that has placed safety and compliance at the forefront. We applaud the court’s decision in helping to level the playing field and getting ELDs another step closer to being placed in every truck on our roadways.”
David Heller, TCA’s vice president of government affairs, agreed.
“We are fortunate to live in an era where hours-of-service regulations can be accurately tracked,” Heller said. “TCA members have always been proactive in adopting technology that can aid in motor carrier compliance, so I know that the majority of them will be ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting ELD equipment. We will enjoy focusing on what’s next in trucking technology that will truly have a positive effect on motor carrier and driver safety.”
The decision does not change the rule’s exemption for pre-2000 year-model trucks, which are allowed to operate without an ELD. After Dec. 16, 2019, all drivers and carriers subject to the rule must use certified, registered ELDs that comply with requirements of the ELD regulations.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is the highest court in the country next to the Supreme Court. OOIDA still has the option to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.