Short-Term Rental Trucks and ELDs – The Decision Is In
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By Dave Osiecki, President of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting & ELD Consultant to PeopleNet

On October 11, 2017, FMCSA issued a favorable decision on a Truck Rental and Leasing Association (TRALA) request for a 5-year exemption from ELD use by drivers and carriers operating trucks rented for 30 days or less.  Although TRALA requested the exemption for 30-days or less truck rentals, FMCSA agreed to grant the ELD exemption for CMVs (i.e., trucks) rented for 8 days or less.  Clearly an important and significant difference, but one that will provide relief for many carriers and drivers renting trucks for unexpected breakdowns, short-term additional capacity, etc.

Below are some of the important details of FMCSA’s decision that carriers and drivers need to know and follow, when using this newly-granted exemption.

The Exemption & Its Effective Date – FMCSA’s decision provides a “limited exemption” for the driver and carrier of a CMV rented for 8 days or less, regardless of the reason for the rental. The exemption is effective on October 11, 2017, and is available for 5 years through October 11, 2022.

There Are Three Basic Conditions Required For Use Of The Exemption:

  1. Drivers must have a copy of the FMCSA exemption notice in their possession while operating the rental CMV, and must present it to law enforcement upon request.  The Notice can be found and printed from this page on the FMCSA website.
  2. Drivers must have a copy of the rental agreement in the rental CMV, and must present it to law enforcement upon request.  The agreement must clearly identify the parties to the agreement, the vehicle, and the dates of the rental period.
  3. Drivers must possess copies of their paper logs for the current day, and the prior 7 days (if required on those days).

A Clear & Concise Prohibition – FMCSA makes clear that any evidence a carrier has replaced one rental CMV with another on 8-day cycles, or attempted to renew a rental agreement for the same CMV for an additional 8 days, will be regarded as a violation of the exemption, and subject the carrier to penalties for failure to use an ELD.

Uniform Enforcement Through State Preemption – FMCSA’s notice also makes clear that during the 5-year period this exemption is in effect, no State “shall enforce any law or regulation applicable to interstate commerce that conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption with respect to a firm or person operating under the exemption.”  

An Accident Reporting Requirement – Carriers must notify FMCSA via email (at MCPSD@dot.gov) within 5 business days of any DOT-recordable accident involving any of its drivers operating under this rental truck ELD exemption.  In its notice at the link above, FMCSA specifies 11 different items that must be reported to the Agency (e.g., date, location, driver’s name and license number, etc.)

While the exemption and its conditions are fairly clear on their face, there will likely be questions posed by carriers and drivers, as has been the case for most parts of the ELD mandate rules.  It’s a good idea to check FMCSA ELD website regularly for the Agency’s responses to the inevitable questions about application of this exemption.  For example, someone is likely to pose a question concerning use of the exemption for the first 8 days of a 30-day rental agreement.

Looking for more information on ELDs? Visit our ELD Resource Center to get all of your questions about the mandate answered.

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