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Seventh Circuit upholds FMCSA safety mandate

Most truck drivers operating on Georgia roadways will be subject to a rule requiring electronic logging devices to keep track of hours on the road. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit voted unanimously in favor of the mandate, which was drafted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association challenged the mandate on behalf of two truck drivers, arguing that it failed to meet Congressional standards and that requiring ELDs was a violation of the truckers' rights to privacy under the Fourth Amendment. The judges disagreed, saying that the rule is not capricious or arbitrary and that it does not infringe on privacy rights.

The OOIDA had successfully challenged a previous version of the FMCSA mandate in 2010. The court in that case agreed with the OOIDA that the ELD rule could lead to harassment of drivers by carrier companies. In the more recent decision, the court distinguished the two rules, saying the FMCSA had fixed the problems present in the previous version. Most semi trucks operating on U.S. highways will be required to transition from paper time logs to electronic logging devices by the time the new rule takes effect. Trucks with model years prior to 2000 will not be required to install ELDs.

The ELD mandate is set to take effect on in December 2017. It is designed to make highways safer by forcing truckers and trucking companies to obey restrictions on the number of hours driven. This will hopefully cut down on the number of accidents that are caused by truck driver fatigue. However, the problem will likely remain, and occupants of other vehicles who have been injured in such a collision may want to meet with a lawyer to discuss how they should seek compensation for their losses.

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