- June 8 is the Supreme Court's earliest deadline for deciding whether to hear the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s (OOIDA) ongoing lawsuit against the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, Overdrive reported last week.
- Though the OOIDA's petition in March was refuted by courts in October, as was its attempt at a 7th Circuit appeal, the group has persisted in fighting the mandate.
- The argument against it is a violation of privacy and warrantless searches. The OOIDA also states that technology and personal privacy are on the line.
The issue of ELD installation is hotly contested, so much so the Supreme Court will have to decide whether it finally puts a nail in the issue's coffin.
In brief, drivers, trucking companies and government officials disagree over the repercussions and legality of mandated electronic devices. Drivers argue mandatory driving limits and technology-enforced breaks do not take other complicating situations, like the lack of roadside parking or the trucker's privacy, into account. Proponents of the rule, however, cite road safety benefits of increased hours-of-service compliance and a recent increase in heavy-duty vehicle accidents.
Shippers, too, have a stake in the battle as the ELD mandate will purportedly hike rates, as costs of installation and compliance will increase the time necessary and drivers available to transport freight. Owner-operators argue the rule also disproportionately affects their class of drivers, unduly benefiting large trucking companies.
Of course, such effects have yet to happen, despite the case's near-closure in October. Upon the October court of appeals decision, many companies hedged their bets to begin implementing the technology. Due to this, a rate hike may not happen at all — but if it does, Overdrive reports, it would occur after the December 2017 implementation date.
Meanwhile, the resistance to the rule continues. Truckers are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the rule's entry into effect, including driver-songwriter Tony Justice and owner-operator Scott Reed, who recently started a public Facebook group to organize opposition. Overdrive reports the group is planning a protest in October.
The passion against such a rule is evident in the group: "We fought thru [sic] the union/owner operator wars. We dealt with states like Ohio that would write a ticket for 2 mph over the speed limit, we pushed thru deregulation and Nafta, and we will stand together to fight ELD," wrote one Kentucky-based driver. "I will be in DC and support this group of NO ELD 100%," he added. Another driver posted a picture of letters she had sent to each Supreme Court justice.
Supply Chain Dive has reported hopes are dim for the opposition, as the various rebuttals from the Justice Department suggest the mandate will stick. However, a surprise is still possible, especially with the scale of organization around the issue. Regardless, June 8 may well be the determinant date in the battle over ELD devices.