E logs: Are They More Effective, and Do They Violate the 4th Amendment

by | Apr 10, 2016

Semi truck accident attorneys see lots of accidents where truckers are fatigued or have logged too many hours. E-logs are supposed to remedy this situation. Many trucks must have an e-log device in the next two years, but over 10,000 independent truckers are challenging that ruling in court. They claim that the e-logs are are a violation of privacy and constitute unlawful tracking.

E-log books electronically log a trucker’s hours and location. They don’t monitor changes in duty, however. Truckers must record the changes from rest periods to driving manually, which raises the question of whether or not e-logs are truly more accurate than paper ones.

The other point of contention comes from the fact that these devices will be monitoringtruckers‘ movements and location while they are on the job. While this may seem safer, and make it easier to know where truckers are, some independent truckers claim that it is illegal tracking.

One survey shows the impact this law could have on the trucking industry. 15% of truckers are already using electronic logs or will purchase them in the near future. Another 32% said they will wait until they are sure the law will stick before purchasing an electronic log. The law only affects trucks made after the year 2000. 10% of truckers say that they won’t change anything because they drive a truck made before 2000. Another 6% say that they run short haul so the law won’t apply to them. 23% say that they will quit the trucking industry before the regulations take effect, and another 10% claim they will quit if they can’t find a truck made before 2000.

One interesting argument from truckers is that this will force drivers to drive when they have the “legal hours” to do so. While a trucker with a paper log book may decide to make up time after resting, they claim the electronic log book will put a stop to that. While this sounds more safe, if the driver was up most of his rest period for a personal reason or very sick, they will be tempted to drive whether they feel well or not.

The fourth amendment means that a person can’t be stopped or even monitored without probable suspicion of illegal activity. Independent truckers say that these electronic log books are a way of monitoring drivers for law enforcement purposes, and the only way to do that legally is with a warrant.Categories