The Owner-Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) filed a lawsuit to block the FMCSA’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. The OOIDA contends that the ELD mandate violates the 4th Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizures. They filed their suit with 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (located in Chicago, IL). The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the same court that vacated the previous ELD mandate back in 2011.

I honestly have conflicting opinions on this one. I am an ardent supporter of individuals’ rights. People frequently say, “The rights of the many supersedes the rights of the few.” But it doesn’t work that way. Whenever we erode the rights of the few for the supposed benefit of the many, all of us lose rights. Conversely when we protect the rights of the individual the group’s rights are preserved as well. It is why the U.S. Bill of Rights were so revolutionary. No government had ever put the individual’s rights ahead of the government before. So I don’t want to see us cutting around the edges of the 4th Amendment because ELDs seem like a good idea.

On the other hand, I think of cases like the 2014 Illinois crash where the driver had been awake for 35 hours and had driven far more 1000 miles over that time may have not have happened – the driver, knowing there were monitoring systems in place may have chosen to not break the law. But at the same time, it is probably foolhardy to suggest that a confirmed lawbreaker would be willing to violate one law but not the other.

What is the appropriate response here? Are ELDs a good idea? Or are they merely one more expense for truck drivers and one more barrier to entry for potential truck drivers?

Thanks for reading.

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