Supreme Court eliminates last roadblock to ELDs

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Updated Jun 20, 2017

Eld 23 Ph 2017 01 23 15 04 1200x675The Supreme Court on Monday delivered a death blow to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s legal challenge to the U.S. DOT’s electronic logging device mandate. With the high court’s rejection, the lawsuit will go no further.

Though there are efforts underway to engage Congress on the issue, spearheaded in part by OOIDA, the issue is likely a nonstarter with lawmakers, multiple sources have told Commercial Carrier Journal in recent months. Just five years ago, a Republican-led Congress required the DOT and its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to develop the ELD rule. The mandate also has support from Democrats. Such bi-partisan support doesn’t bode well for any moves to strip the mandate or delay it.

Given this week’s news from the Supreme Court and the likely reluctance of Congress — or the White House, whose DOT has shown no interest in bucking Congress’ orders — to touch the issue, any carriers, particularly small ones, hoping for a reversal of the mandate should transition to seeking compliance options.

“I believe this is game-set-match,” says Joe Rajkovacz, head of regulatory affairs for the Western States Trucking Associations and former owner-operator. “We’ve moved to making sure our members are educated on this issue and we’re encouraging them to not wait until the last minute.”

Rajkovacz notes his group opposed the mandate. It filed opposition comments in 2014 during the public comment period. The “reality now,” Rajkovacz says, “is any optimism that this can be overturned is false hope.”

The American Trucking Associations earlier this week noted its support for the Supreme Court’s decision to effectively uphold the mandate. “We are pleased to see that the Supreme Court will not interfere with the implementation of this important, and Congressionally mandated, safety rule,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spears. “We will continue to support FMCSA as they work toward the December deadline for electronic logging devices and urge them to provide certainty to the industry about when and how to comply with this rule by continuing to move toward implementing this regulation on schedule.”

CCJ, a sister publication of Hard Working Trucks, earlier this year published an in-depth ELD buyers’ guide to help carriers understand compliance options.