The ELD exemption for short-term rentals didn’t go as far as the industry wanted, but it was a step in the right direction.
We are quickly approaching the “drop-dead” date of December 18 for fleets to become ELD-compliant, yet a survey published yesterday on HDT shows that nearly half of small fleets have not achieved that goal. No one is quite sure what the results will be when December 18 rolls around, but one of the big concerns expressed by TRALA was how the ELD mandate would affect the short-term rental business and the companies and drivers who used those rentals.
As Jane Clark, Vice President of Member Services for NationaLease, notes in her recent IdeaXchange blog, TRALA petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to exempt rental trucks from the ELD mandate if those trucks were rented for thirty days or less. The FMCSA met TRALA part of the way by granting a five-year exemption from the ELD requirements, but only for trucks rented for eight days or less, rather than the requested thirty.
The reasoning behind the original petition makes sense when one considers the number of ELD devices and the varying telematics platforms used by fleets. It would be quite possible for a rental truck to be equipped with an ELD that could not communicate with the company’s telematics. Even if the ELD was compatible with the company’s telematics, if it were to be different than the one normally used by the driver in other vehicles, it could require additional driver training. To incur the cost in time and money for training for a short-term rental is a cost fleets would prefer not to make..
Drivers of these rentals will still need to observe the HOS rules but they will need to keep paper logs to verify their hours and they will also need to have the rental agreement at hand in case they are stopped for an inspection. This exemption is certainly better than nothing at all but when one considers rentals for seasonality, fleets may need the vehicles for longer than eight days. And once that eight-day period is passed, the vehicle must comply with the mandate and be equipped with an ELD. Fleets will need to build this consideration into their fleet planning and scheduling in order to avoid disruption.
Read more of Jane Clark’s IdeaXchange blogs on a wide range of transportation topics.