Trucks can break down and busy shipping periods can put strain on a driver’s or fleet’s ability to maintain delivery schedules. The simple solution is to rent a short-term truck (defined as 30 days or less) to make up the difference — whether you’re temporarily replacing a truck or temporarily adding more to your fleet. Maintaining delivery schedules is as simple as that. ELDs and short-term rental trucks, however, aren’t as simple.
The Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA), who says they support the ELD rule, submitted various ELD petitions for operators of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) rented for 30 days or less. In one petition TRALA argued:
“…the ‘interoperability’ of the different ELD units on the market created a challenge for both carriers renting trucks and the companies supplying the rental units.”
The petitions emphasize TRALA’s concern for the unintended technical and operational consequences of using ELDs with truck rentals, as well as how these difficulties would adversely affect the short-term rental vehicles and/or company. TRALA’s primary concerns center around data transfers and data liability, given so many ELD products on the market. When it comes to data transfers, TRALA is afraid they won’t happen at all if a carrier’s ELD won’t communicate properly with the rental truck company’s telematics platform. Data transfer issues could also pose a problem if a driver must pull up seven days worth of his or her duty status if requested by law enforcement — will it work if the rental e-log is not compatible with the driver’s normal electronic logging device? With data liability, TRALA also raised concerns about the potential burden of rental companies safeguarding motor carriers’ data, which would undoubtedly increase the rental company’s risk.
ELD Exemption Granted for Short-Term Rental Trucks:
Trucks Rented for 8 Days or Less
On October 11, 2017, FMCSA granted a limited ELD exemption for rental trucks that are used for eight days or less. “This limited exemption provides that all drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) rented for 8 days or less, regardless of reason, are not required to use an ELD in the vehicle.” Drivers must still maintain: standard hours-of-service (HOS); paper records of duty status (RODS), if required; a copy of the rental agreement. Keep in mind, however, that the more recent ELD waiver (below) will supersede any inconsistencies found between the exemption and waiver.
Short-Term ELD Waiver Granted for Short-Term Rental Trucks:
Trucks Rented 30 Days or Less
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) recently announced their grant for a temporary waiver for short-term rental trucks, defined as 30 days or less. Short-term rental trucks now have until March 18, 2018 to meet electronic logging device compliance. “Rentals lasting 8 days or fewer are permanently exempt from the ELD mandate.”
This waiver gives rental truck companies time to adequately prepare rental trucks, used between eight and 30 days, for the ELD mandate; however, the waiver applies to all short-term truck rentals not exceeding 30 days. Furthermore, because this waiver is in effect during the same time period as the previous ELD exemption, this January 2018 ELD “waiver supersedes the exemption granted to TRALA on October 11, 2017 (82 FR 47306) to the extent there is any inconsistency.”
To maintain rights to this ELD waiver, drivers must follow and comply with the short-term rental truck waiver terms and conditions.
ELD Exemptions and Waivers Granted
The ELD exemption and the ELD waiver for short-term rental trucks were granted because FMCSA decided that doing so was in the public’s best interests and that such waivers and exemptions would likely achieve equivalent levels of safety. Likewise, the limited extension will help businesses renting CMVs continue to work on ways to reconcile ELD requirements with the needs of drivers and carriers (including the possibility of cloud-based portal systems that will communicate between ELD providers and ELD owners).