The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association was rebuffed by the Supreme Court on June 12th when the High Court declined to hear a challenge to the the constitutionality of the electronic logging devices.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rule requiring electronic logging instead of paper logs goes into effect on December 17, 2017. The drivers challenged the ruling on the grounds that it violated their Fourth Amendment rights. The decision by the court not to hear the case lets stand the decision by the lower federal appellate court who ruled on the matter.
In an industry already stretched thin for drivers, the fear is that the electronic logging requirement would, pun unintended, drive people out of the trucking industry which is already subject to a myriad of safety and insurance regulations that independent operators say cripple them and leave little or no profitability.
A very disturbing story about harbor trucking in Los Angeles from USA Today demonstrated the plight of many harbor truckers who become near indentured serfs to the companies for whom they work.
There is no doubt that the trucking industry is at a crossroads. There are no signs of the driver shortage abating as people eschew the solitary life of an over-the-road trucker and seek employment in industries with a livable wage. Then there are the footsteps of people like Elon Musk who are looking to deliver not just electric passenger vehicles, but semi-trucks as well.
This, along with other changes and trends in supply chain, means that all companies who rely on logistics to save money or get their goods to market are going to continue to see major shifts in their transportation programs. Whether from a widened Panama Canal (one year old this month) or from airlines and aircraft that can fly farther and bring cargo and travelers from new countries, getting goods in the hands of the end user will continue to evolve thanks to technology, work force availability and consumer buying power.