Posted on: Jun 15, 2017
The US Supreme Court has rejected a petition to overturn a rule requiring truck drivers to use electronic logging devices (ELDs), with all eyes now focused on the December compliance date later this year. The rejection of an appeal from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) added fresh urgency to the December 18th compliance deadline set by the ELD rule.
"We are extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court does not see the merit in reviewing our case with so many questions about its constitutionality," said Jim Johnston, president and CEO of OOIDA. He said OOIDA will press Congress to kill the ELD requirement, which Congress ordered in 2012, and will seek regulatory relief from the White House.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA), which supports the mandate, thinks the odds increasingly are against ELD repeal. "We're pretty confident that Dec. 18 will be when this [mandate] implements," Bill Sullivan, executive vice president of advocacy at ATA. "We know the secretary [of transportation, Elaine Chao] very well. This is one of the topics we've covered with her ... Congress mandated these regulations, and it would be unheard of for it to be undone," he said. "It was a bipartisan effort."
The final word from the Supreme Court could send a wave of smaller trucking companies into the market for ELDs, which will replace paper logbooks used since the early part of the 20th century. Trucking companies have less than seven months to purchase, install, and train drivers and dispatchers to use ELDs instead of paper logs to record hours of service. OOIDA argued electronic logs will not improve safety, but they will certainly affect operations. Much more precise planning of routes, schedules, and even parking locations will be necessary.
That will put more onus on shippers to review their own routes and shipping schedules to ensure they are "ELD compliant," and to reduce driver detention time in their yards or receivers' docks. Shippers and brokers also are likely to step up efforts to ensure the carriers they use have ELDs. Stay tuned as more develops.
Click here to visit the FMCSA's web page detailing the ELD mandate including a timeline.