Trucker 8485 Court House

Back to court: OOIDA requests rehearing on ELD rule

Dec. 15, 2016
Appeal contends FMCSA 'has consistently abused its authority'

Taking a last legal swing, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. on Wednesday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to take another look at the electronic logging device rule due to take effect in one year.

The Rule 35 appeal requests an en banc rehearing—one before the full panel of the court’s members—of OOIDA’s petition to block the ELD mandate. In an Oct. 31 decision, a three-judge panel rejected the small-business trucking group’s arguments, referring broadly to the 80-year history of regulating the trucking industry and driver work limits. Specifically, the court said the application of electronic logs does not violate Fourth Amendment protections and that the rule adequately addresses confidentiality concerns.

In the new filing, however, OOIDA says that opinion “conflicts with controlling precedent” that has consistently limited the “pervasively regulated industry” exception to administrative searches of businesses, and has never extended it to the search of individuals for the “ordinary needs” of law enforcement.

Additionally, even when a warrantless search is permitted under the “pervasively regulated industry” exception, regulations authorizing the search must be carefully limited and sufficiently detailed.

“Such regulations must serve as a constitutionally adequate substitute for a warrant,” OOIDA contends, citing several precedents. “The regulatory scheme at issue here wholly fails to satisfy this requirement.”

As to confidentiality, the appeal argues that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has not taken any measures to ensure that state enforcement officers in the field abide by the statutory requirements.

“The record shows a complete default on the part of the Agency in implementing the driver protections,” OOIDA says.

Finally, OOIDA contends the case presents “an issue of exceptional importance,” sufficient to warrant a rehearing, based on the “profound implications” for the propriety of this and other joint federal-state enforcement schemes.

“FMCSA has consistently abused its authority to enforce HOS regulations,” the appeal concludes, pointing to previous court decisions blocking HOS and e-log rules. “Here, the Agency has ignored its responsibility to protect driver confidentiality and to limit the use of ELD data to HOS enforcement. Before subjecting 3.5 million drivers to constant surveillance pursuant to warrantless searches, the Agency ought to proceed with scrupulous attention to the statutory and constitutional requirements imposed on it. The ELD Rule represents the latest in a long line of FMCSA rules transgressing those requirements, and the panel’s opinion to the contrary is plainly erroneous.”

A majority of the court’s 12 judges must agree to the request for a rehearing.

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor

Kevin has served as editor-in-chief of Trailer/Body Builders magazine since 2017—just the third editor in the magazine’s 60 years. He is also editorial director for Endeavor Business Media’s Commercial Vehicle group, which includes FleetOwner, Bulk Transporter, Refrigerated Transporter, American Trucker, and Fleet Maintenance magazines and websites.

Working from Little Rock, Kevin has covered trucking and manufacturing for 15 years. His writing and commentary about the trucking industry and, previously, business and government, has been recognized with numerous state, regional, and national journalism awards.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...