Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Inc. v. United States Department of Transportation, No. 15-3756 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Since 1935, federal law has regulated the hours of service of truck drivers operating in interstate commerce. Drivers must keep paper records showing their driving time and other on‐duty time. In 2012, Congress directed the Department of Transportation to issue regulations to require most interstate commercial motor vehicles to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) linked to vehicle engines to automatically record data relevant to hours of services: whether the engine is running, the time, and the vehicle’s approximate location. Congress instructed the Department to consider factors including driver privacy and preventing forms of harassment enabled by the ELDs, 49 U.S.C. 31137. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration promulgated the final rule: Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents, 49 C.F.R. Pts. 385, 386, 390, 395 (2015). The Seventh Circuit rejected a challenge by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and drivers. The court rejected arguments that the rule permits ELDs that are not entirely automatic; uses a narrow definition of “harassment” that will not sufficiently protect drivers; that the agency’s cost‐benefit analysis was inadequate; that the agency did not sufficiently consider confidentiality protections for drivers; and that the ELD mandate imposed, in effect, an unconstitutional search or seizure on truck drivers. Even if the rule imposes a search or a seizure, inspection of ELD data recorded would fall within the “pervasively regulated industry” exception to the warrant requirement.