August 29, 2017

OOIDA seeks delay in ELD deadline, saying many states have no authority to enforce rule

Twenty-six states have failed to codify federal truck safety rule, and can't enforce it until they do so, truck group says.

By DC Velocity Staff

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) asked the federal government today to delay the planned Dec. 18 implementation of rules requiring all post-year 2000 vehicles be equipped with some type of electronic logging device, saying 26 states have not incorporated electronic logging regulations into their laws and cannot enforce the rules until then.

OOIDA, which bitterly opposes the so-called ELD mandate, argued in a petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency that wrote the ELD rules, that states must codify federal truck safety amendments and additions before they can enforce them, and that more than 20 states are already years behind in doing so. For example, Delaware has not updated its incorporation of changes in federal safety rules since 2006, while Arizona last updated in 2012 and Kansas in 2013, OOIDA said.

"We are concerned about numerous states issuing citations for the violation of nonexistent state laws," said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA, which represents thousands of owner-operator drivers nationwide.

Yesterday, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), a coalition of motor carrier law enforcement officials, said they would delay writing vehicle out-of-service orders for ELD noncompliance until April 1. However, CVSA still supports the Dec. 18 implementation date set by FMCSA. CVSA said it would instead issue citations for noncompliance prior to April 1.

Spencer said state enforcement officers lack the training and equipment to operate in an ELD environment, a void that should not be surprising given that so many states have not incorporated the ELD rule into their laws, he said.

"No state law enforcement should be implementing the ELD mandate until they actually adopt the mandate into state law and train and equip their enforcement personnel to enforce it properly," he said.

The petition is OOIDA's latest tactic to either delay or overturn the ELD mandate, which it calls unconstitutional on grounds it violates 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure by requiring the prolonged use of a warrantless GPS device. The group has also argued that ELD's are no more reliable than paper log books for recording driver hours of service compliance—the main reason the rule exists—because the devices just track a vehicle's location and the driver must still manually input any changes to duty status.

However, OOIDA's efforts have been thwarted in the courts, and it has turned to Congress and the Trump administration for support. At this time, conventional wisdom holds that lawmakers and the White House will let the mandate stand because it was required by Congress, and because it concerns motor carrier safety.

OOIDA has called the mandate the most consequential federal rule in the history of the trucking industry.

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