Posted: December 13, 2017 by Heavy Duty Trucking, Today's Trucking partner
WASHINGTON, DC — A 90-day waiver from the Electronic Logging Device mandate will soon be issued for carriers operating short-term rental trucks (defined as 30 days or less) by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The upshot is that these trucking operations will be exempt from the new rule until March 18, 2018 and firms that rent or trucks will have three more months in which to get their trucks in compliance with the ELD mandate.
The Truck Renting and Leasing Association announced on Dec. 12 — less than a week before the ELD takes effect — that FMCSA had agreed to grant the special 90-day exemption in a Dec. 8 letter to the association by Cathy Gautreaux, deputy administrator. In her message, she noted that official notice of the waiver will be published in the FederalRegister “as soon as practicable and will include the complete list of terms and conditions applicable to the waiver.”
In a news release, TRALA called the agency’s action “welcome news to truck rental companies that have been spending the past few months trying to put together strategies and plans to address the fact that FMCSA only granted part of TRALA’s original request for a five-year exemption for short-term rental trucks.”
Back on October 24, FMCSA granted a waiver only for rentals of eight days or less – rather than the 30-day period sought by TRALA. The association said that left most of its members with “very little time to respond to ensure their customers continued to receive the best possible equipment and service designed to comply with the ELD rule set to take effect on December 18, 2017.”
TRALA said that in the wake of that earlier decision, it “continued to discuss further options with FMCSA to help ease the burden on the rental industry as TRALA members worked toward becoming fully compliant with the mandate. After multiple calls and face-to-face discussions, TRALA requested a 90-day waiver, which the FMCSA has the ability to grant without a public comment period.”
“I want to thank FMCSA for granting a waiver for short-term rental trucks,” said TRALA President and CEO Jake Jacoby. “Having an open, honest, and productive dialogue the past few months has really helped our membership and I know our members appreciate the agency’s understanding of the unique challenges this rule presents to rental trucks.”
Also applauding the 90-day waiver from FMCSA was Penske Truck Leasing. In a statement, Michael Duff, senior vice president of Government Relations and Chief Compliance Officer, said that “while Penske has released and developed an ELD compliant solution of its own for its rental vehicles and is already equipped for customers to bring their own onboard devices, the additional allotted time will be beneficial to the industry and in further helping our full-service truck leasing and commercial truck rental customers transition successfully with the new regulation.”
TRALA also pointed out that many of the issues [around the mandate] that are unique to its members “stem from the fact that ELD platforms are not interoperable among themselves. For most trucking fleets this is not a problem, but for situations such as breakdowns, seasonal overages and peak times, most fleets and small businesses turn to the truck rental industry for relief.
“If a fleet has one ELD system but the rental company has another,” TRALA continued, “it is impossible to combine them without building out new systems, which are both costly and time-consuming. As technology stands today, for small businesses the interoperability issue could cause a financial hardship and for fleets it could cost significant time for drivers to manually combine their hours-of-service data from two different ELD systems.”