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Truck drivers to begin using ELDs in 2017

Based on a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, most truck drivers in West Virginia and around the country will be required to begin tracking their duty status using electronic logging devices by Dec. 18, 2017. The rule was published in December 2015 and will require truck drivers to make a switch to the ELDs from a system using paper logs.

In March, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed a lawsuit on behalf of two drivers arguing that the rule would be in violation of their privacy rights. The lawsuit also contended that the rule did not meet standards for an ELD mandate. The court rejected both arguments saying that the rule did not violate the Fourth Amendment and was not arbitrary or capricious.

Oral arguments were made on Sept. 13, and the court issued its decision on Oct. 31. The OOIDA may still appeal to the Supreme Court. In 2010, the same court had rejected an ELD mandate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration because it failed to protect truck drivers who might face harassment by carriers. However, the court said that in the new mandate, those concerns had been addressed.

There are a number of regulations in place to improve safety for truck drivers. Such regulations are supposed to address issues such as truck driver fatigue caused by truck drivers being behind the wheel without taking the required breaks or rest stops. In some cases it is their decision, while in others their employers are pressuring them to stay on the road. In either case, an accident caused by a drowsy truck driver can cause catastrophic injuries to occupants of other vehicles. Victims might want to have the help of a lawyer in obtaining compensation for the losses that they have sustained.

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