The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. is taking its opposition to the electronic logging device mandate to the highest court in the land. The small business trucking group this week filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was wrong when it ruled that the e-log requirement does not violate Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure. The deadline for compliance with the ELD rule is Dec. 18.
“We believe that the Seventh Circuit erred in allowing warrantless searches of 3.5 million drivers, designed specifically to uncover evidence of criminal activity,” said Jim Johnston, president and CEO of OOIDA. “In doing so, the Seventh Circuit decision splits directly with rulings by both the Fifth and Eleventh Circuit Courts. This is also the first time that the pervasively regulated industry exception has been applied directly to the search of an individual to serve the ordinary needs of criminal law enforcement.”
OOIDA contends that the “pervasively regulated industry exception” to the warrant requirement, the basis of the Seventh Circuit’s denial, does not extend beyond the search of “business premises.” Additionally, for such an exception and warrantless search, the Supreme Court imposed strict guidelines—guidelines which the ELD rule does not specifically address.
In short, according to OOIDA, an ELD requirement is the equivalent of warrantless surveillance of truckers.
“The ELD Rule does far more than authorize administrative inspections of business premises. HOS regulations are directed toward the personal conduct of drivers,” the petition states. “ELDs monitor and record driver conduct, including driver activity and location, twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, more expansively and invasively than paper logbooks currently do.”
The association will also continue to pursue the issue on the congressional side as part of its “Knock Out Bad Regs” campaign and will continue to communicate with the Trump administration about this and other regulations, Johnson said.
“We were very disappointed and surprised by the ruling against us by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals,” Johnston said. “That same court had ruled in our favor on a previous lawsuit of ours on this same issue.” said Johnston.