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OOIDA vs. FMCSA – Is This The Biggest Legal Battle In Trucking History?

Trucking Industry Main Event: OOIDA vs. FMCSA

For years, the FMCSA has contended that truck drivers should no longer be able to manually enter their own hours of service and duty status into their daily driving logs, and instead, that an electronic device automatically captures this data every time that trucker steps foot inside of his or her commercial motor vehicle. While this may sound like the perfect solution for a manager supervising efficiency, this ‘additionally pervasive regulation’ poses serious questions and conflicts of interest with respect to an individual’s privacy rights, their exposure to workplace harassment, and a sobering vagueness relating to constitutional Fourth Amendment enforcement of search and seizure laws.

Electronic Logging DeviceAs a result, oral arguments are set to be heard on September 13th in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in support of a Petitioner’s Brief that has been filed by a prominent Washington D.C. law firm on behalf of the OOIDA and its approximate 157,000 members. To be sure, lawyers for the OOIDA will remind the panel of three judges that it was only five years ago when this very same court struck down a previous effort by the FMCSA to advance their proposed “ELD” law 49 U.S.C. 31137 toward final approval. And even though Congress has directed the Secretary of Transportation to prescribe these new electronic regulations, the FMCSA has yet to successfully execute that federal mandate.

…this ‘additionally pervasive regulation’ poses serious questions and conflicts of interest with respect to an individual’s privacy rights…

What Happens If A Law Is Enacted Requiring Live Recording Of Location And Activity Of All Commercial Truck Drivers 24/7?

Put yourself in their shoes. From now on, what if every time you got into a vehicle and turned the ignition key a facial recognition dash cam recorder turned on? And then a screen gave you a drop down menu from which you were to pick whether you are working, having personal time, or resting. No big deal, right? Productivity and safety first!

We The PeopleBut what happens when you choose “on-duty,” you’re driving down the road, then a sudden family emergency arises, you’re trying to handle it, but then you get pulled over by an officer because your route and stress levels were showing up as irregular. And then while he’s questioning you on whether you’re still “on-duty” or “enjoying personal conveyance,” your boss calls and asks you why you “stopped driving” and “what’s going on?” And then you receive an alert that this entire event will stay on your permanent driving record. Oh, how did it all go so wrong?!

It’s what some refer to as a “Brave New World” where “Big Brother” is always looking over your shoulder. Is that a genuine concern, or are some people just being paranoid? You are welcome to download and read the entire OOIDA vs. FMCSA Petitioner’s Brief HERE. It’s a 69-page legal document outlining the case background, previous case law, legal arguments, and some of the serious consequences at stake. After all, there is no question that new laws of this caliber have great potential to infringe upon individuals. The question is: how far are we willing to let them go in the name of safety and efficiency?

It’s what some refer to as a “Brave New World” where “Big Brother” is always looking over your shoulder.

For more information, you can visit the OOIDA Foundation website or OOIDA.com and please feel free to leave a comment below and let us know what you think. Thanks, and keep on trucking.

– Super Jay

10.17.18 UPDATE: we have some new posts related to the ELD and car hauling industry for car haulers that are still new owner operators, dispatchers or fleet drivers. Check it out!

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