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Electronic log device rule upheld by 7th Circuit

New York truck drivers and those around the country will need to use electronic logging devices starting in December 2017 instead of the present practice by some carriers of using paper logs. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled on Oct. 31 in favor of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but the mandate will not apply for trucks made before 2000. A lawsuit was filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association on grounds that such devices would violate the Fourth Amendment.

The group also asserted that the devices failed to meet an ELD mandate set by Congress. In its decision, the court said that the rule was not a violation of Fourth Amendment rights nor was it arbitrary. In 2010, the court had thrown out a proposed ELD rule on grounds that it didn't do enough to prevent drivers from being harassed by carriers. However, the rule was changed when reintroduced in 2015, and the OOIDA may appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

One of the purposes of the rule is to help ensure that carriers and their drivers are not violating hours of service regulations. Those laws exist to help prevent accidents that are the result of a truck driver having been behind the wheel too long without taking a rest break and becoming drowsy.

While these regulations will hopefully cut down on the number of commercial vehicle accidents caused by drowsy truck drivers, they do not go into effect until the end of next year, and the rules will not entirely eliminate them. People who have been injured in such an accident may want to meet with an attorney to learn about the available ways to seek compensation for their losses.

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