ELD exemption for short-term rentals a good idea

The Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA), which NationaLease is a member of, recently asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for an exemption from the electronic logging device (ELD) ruling. It seeks a five-year the exemption for trucks that are rented for 30 days or less.

While TRALA supports the ELD rule, it is concerned about “unintended technical and operational consequences that will unfairly and adversely affect short-term rental vehicles.”

The Association has concerns around data transfer that center on the fact that there are a number of different device platforms and subscription options. “It is highly unlikely that the driver’s device would be able to communicate properly with the rental company’s telemarketing platform,” TRALA stated.

FMCSA made no provisions in the ELD rule covering interoperability among ELDs. This means it is up to device manufacturers to deal with non-operability of various software systems.

In its request for an exemption, TRALA highlighted potential problems with existing ELD rules. “First, a customer that is required to use an ELD may rent a truck that has one operating system, while the customer may use another operating system for its drivers; data cannot be transferred from the rental vehicle to the customer’s system unless both ELDs are on the same platform.”

In addition, safety officials can ask drivers to produce and transfer their HOS records from an ELD, including the driver’s duty status for the current 24-hour period and for seven days prior. “If the driver is operating a rental vehicle with an ELD that is not compatible with the driver’s normal ELD system, the data will not transfer to the new vehicle’s ELD system,” according to TRALA.

This would be considered an ELD malfunction and the drive would have to then reconstruct the paper record of duty status (RODS).

The exemption TRALA seeks asks “that drivers of short-term rental vehicles be allowed to avoid the uncertainties of attempting compliance with HOS rules using non-compatible ELD systems, and instead, use paper RODS during the rental period.”

TRALA is also concerned with data protection and security.

According to TRALA, “By allowing drivers of short-term rentals to continue to operate with paper RODS, TRALA’s members and their customers would be able to comply with all federal and state HOS regulations while continuing to operate efficiently and safely.”

TRALA President and CEO Jake Jacoby stated, “While FMCSA”s intentions were good with regards to the ELD mandate, the unintended consequences for short-term rentals could be devastating to the entire trucking industry unless an exemption is granted for these vehicles. Not only would this impact TRALA’s members, but also all of their customers — thousands of which are small companies unable to purchase year-long subscriptions to ELD telematics equipment. Even a simple think such as a breakdown could become a logistical nightmare for replacement rental trucks due to the lack of interoperable ELD systems currently in the marketplace.”

Public comments are being accepted until April 21 at https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FMCSA-2016-0428-0002.

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