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Truck Leasing group asks for another ELD exemption, through year’s end

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Comments are being taken now on the latest request received by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for an exemption to the ELD rules.

The Truck Renting and Leasing Association submitted the request earlier this week. The exemption is requested until the final day of 2018 “for all drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles rented for 30 days or fewer,” according to the Federal Register notice posted by FMCSA.

A 90-day waiver was granted to TRALA to begin January 19 and will expire April 19. But according to the Federal Register note, TRALA does not believe that period is “sufficient to address the ELD problems that they and their short-term lessors are encountering.”

TRALA laid out what it viewed as its unique circumstances in a comment to FMCSA back in 2014, when the ELD rule was first proposed. “(Rental agencies’) customer mix changes on a weekly and sometimes daily basis; TRALA members will not know from one day or week to the next whether the rental customers will require an ELD on any particular rental vehicle in the fleet,” it said in its comments. “Under the proposal, TRALA members would have to purchase and offer (commercial vehicles) outfitted with ELDs, as either original equipment or as a retrofit, to all customers at all times in order to comply in those few instances when the commercial rental customers’ drivers are subject to the ELD rule.” TRALA noted that many of its customers will hire equipment for a day or just a few hours.

The request by TRALA does not seek a permanent exemption. But if it gets the waiver through the end of the year, the exemption “would provide rental-vehicle owners, carriers and drivers with additional time to develop compliance strategies for dealing with the unique issues related to the use of ELDs in short-term rental vehicles,” the Federal Register notice said. 

In the meantime, it added, where the Hours of Service rule is relevant, paper logs can suffice. 

“TRALA states that it has nearly 500 members whose vehicles account for between 25–30% of all commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) on the highways today,” the Federal Register item said. 

In the Federal Register notice from October announcing the waiver that begin in January, the type of unique situation a rental truck may encounter was given this example: trucks that break down are often replaced by a rental. “More often than not, replacement vehicles come from a third-party rental company, which increases the likelihood that the replacement truck would have a different ELD operating system than the vehicle it is replacing, thus impeding data transfer.”

Comments are due by April 12. FMCSA earlier this week granted an extension on an ELD waiver to certain agricultural uses.

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.