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Transportation Brief: ELDs Present Unique Opportunities and Challenges for Shippers and Intermediaries

by Brandon K. Wiseman

December 4, 2017

ELDs Present Unique Opportunities and Challenges for Shippers and Intermediaries

The ELD mandate, although not directly applicable to anyone other than regulated motor carriers and their drivers, may have a ripple effect on other industry stakeholders, including shippers and third-party intermediaries. ELDs may benefit shippers and third-party intermediaries through heightened visibility about the whereabouts and timing of their freight, especially when they engage carriers that have implemented ELDs with non-mandated telematics capabilities.

On the other hand, ELDs may pose unique risks. In an effort to obtain detailed data, shippers and intermediaries may be inclined to require motor carriers to adopt ELDs with specific tracking and functionality features. This is a slippery slope with joint-employment implications, because shippers and intermediaries may have increased access to driver-level decision making. This may lead to accusations that shippers or intermediaries are misusing ELDs and may open the door to FMCSA enforcement actions under the agency’s rule that prohibits coercing drivers to violate the safety regulations, including Hours-of-Service limits.

Scopelitis’ Transportation Brief® is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.


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