‘Game-set-match’ for ELD mandate, time for truckers to consider compliance options

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Updated Jun 18, 2017
Bill Frerichs edit
Pictured here is one of the dedicated tablets in a ruggedized casing that small fleet owner Bill Frerichs has installed in each of his Volvo tractors, today running the non-395.15-compliant BigRoad logbook app. Says Frerichs of his guarded embrace of e-logs with a plan to turn to a fully compliant AOBRD later in the year, “I would have probably made this move a couple of years ago.” Like so many others, “I’m kind of waiting on the ruling,” he says. “I don’t want to find out that a year from now, I have to do something else.”

El Ddash1 E1453736373898The Supreme Court on Monday delivered a death blow to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s legal challenge to the U.S. DOT’s electronic logging device mandate. With the high court’s rejection, the lawsuit will go no further.

Though there are efforts underway to engage Congress on the issue, spearheaded in part by OOIDA, the issue is likely a nonstarter with lawmakers, multiple sources have told Overdrive in recent months. Just five years ago, a Republican-led Congress required the DOT and its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to develop the ELD rule. The mandate also has support from Democrats. Such bi-partisan support doesn’t bode well for any moves to strip the mandate or delay it.

Given this week’s news from the Supreme Court and the likely reluctance of Congress — or the White House, whose DOT has shown no interest in bucking Congress’ orders — to touch the issue, owner-operators would be wise to transition from hoping for a reversal to considering compliance options.

“I believe this is game-set-match,” says Joe Rajkovacz, head of regulatory affairs for the Western States Trucking Associations and former owner-operator. WSTA “has moved to making sure our members are educated on this issue and we’re encouraging them to not wait until the last minute,” he says.

Rajkovacz notes his group opposed the mandate. It filed opposition comments in 2014 during the public comment period. The “reality now,” Rajkovacz says, “is any optimism that this can be overturned is false hope.”

“Many small business trucking companies have waited till the outcome of this case to consider their pathway to compliance. My advice is to not wait until the last minute. There many vendors out there, and the technology could present a challenge [to learn],” he adds.

OOIDA is encouraging members to call their representatives in Congress to address the issue. It said Monday it is “extremely disappointed” in the Supreme Court’s decision to reject the case.

Overdrive explored owner-operator compliance options in depth this year. See the links below to learn about ELD suppliers, types of ELDs, pricing, required spec’s and more.

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