A 90-day ELD waiver for short-term rental trucks was posted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the Federal Register on January 19.

The waiver took effect on the day it was published and would expire on April 19, 2018.

The Truck Rental and Leasing Association (TRALA) sought the exemption for rental trucks late last year.

The 90-day waiver, which can only be issued once, will allow short-term rental trucks to continue using paper logs to record their hours of service (HOS). It will also let companies providing the rental or lease trucks more time to equip their vehicles with ELDs.

Concerns raised by TRALA

In its petition to the FMCSA, TRALA expressed concern “about the unintended technical and operational consequences that will unfairly and adversely affect short-term rental vehicles.”

The association was worried about the “lack of interoperability between the motor carrier’s ELD technology and the rental company’s telematics platform, potentially precluding data transfer between the two systems.”

TRALA was also concerned about data liability, particularly if rental companies were required to carry the burden of protecting data on behalf of the carrier.

TRALA is a national trade association representing nearly 500 member companies that operate in more than 5,000 commercial leasing and rental locations, and more than 20,000 consumer rental locations throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

The FMCSA’s decision

The FMCSA explained why it granted the three-month ELD exemption.

The Agency has determined that granting this waiver is in the public interest and will likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to the level that would be achieved absent the waiver, based on the terms and conditions imposed,” the FMCSA said.

The FMCSA told TRALA on December 12 last year that the waiver was coming. Since then, the association has waited for the agency to post it in the Federal Register.

TRALA said once the waiver was published, a short-term rental truck driver could print a copy of the notice and carry it with them in their vehicle for the duration of the exemption period.

Those who want to read and print a hard copy of the 90-day waiver can click here.

After the ELD mandate took effect on December 18, TRALA claimed that many enforcement officers were unaware of the waiver granted to rental trucks, which resulted in confusion among several association members.

Now that the waiver has been published in the Federal Register, TRALA expects a “much simpler” inspection process for drivers of rental trucks.


In November 2016, TRALA formally requested the FMCSA to grant a five-year ELD exemption to operators of property-carrying CMVs rented for 30 days or less.

Under the ELD rule, motor carriers whose drivers are required to keep records of duty status (RODS) must use an electronic logging device starting December 18 instead of paper logs. In accordance with 49 CFR 381.315, the FMCSA sought public comment on TRALA’s exemption request [82 FR 14789 (March 22, 2017)].

The FMCSA reviewed TRALA’s petition, taking into consideration the comments from the public. After which, it granted the limited exception, subject to specified terms and conditions, but only for rentals not exceeding eight days (82 FR 47306 (October 11, 2017)).

However, after the FMCSA partly granted TRALA’s exemption, the association requested a 90-day waiver from the ELD mandate.

The association said a 90-day waiver would allow rental companies and their customers ‘‘critical additional time to develop compliance strategies’’ to address ‘‘unique issues relating to the use of ELDs in short-term rental vehicles.’’

The association cited “unique challenges” faced by operators of short-term rental trucks — the lack of interoperability between ELD platforms, a situation that requires rental companies to address how their customers’ drivers might record their HOS using ELDs as efficiently as possible.

TRALA also said that several steps had been taken by its members since the FMCSA’s October 11, 2017 decision granting a partial exemption for short-term rental trucks, including building cloud-based systems between ELD providers and buyers of ELDs.

TRALA emphasized that additional time is needed and that a 90-day waiver would allow its members to continue working through ELD technology-related issues and the need for individual customer-based compliance strategies.

The association assured that the waiver wouldn’t have any negative impact on safety as rental vehicle drivers would remain subject to HOS regulations as well as the requirement to keep paper RODS under 49 CFR 395.3 and 395.8.

Given the obstacles to ELD implementation that are unique to short-term CMV rentals and the rule’s impact on carriers renting trucks for a short period, FMCSA granted a three-month waiver from the ELD mandate.

The agency said the waiver would avoid business disruptions for carriers employing short-term rentals, regardless of the reason, and allow businesses to rent CMVs to continue finding ways to reconcile the ELD requirement with customer needs.

Because the 90-day waiver applies to all short-term truck rentals, during a period when both the previous eight-day exemption and the new waiver are in effect, the FMCSA said the three-month exemption supersedes the eight-day waiver granted to TRALA on October 11, 2017 (82 FR 47306).

An overview of the terms and conditions

Here is a brief overview of the 90-day waiver’s terms and conditions:

  1. The ELD mandate exemption is effective from January 19, 2018, to April 19, 2018.
  2. The exemption covers the rental of any property-carrying CMV for 30 days or less, regardless of the reason for the rental. Replacing one rental CMV with another on 30-day cycles or attempting to renew a rental agreement for the same CMV for a period beyond 30 days would be considered a violation of the waiver.
  3. Carriers and drivers operating under the 90-day waiver must comply with all other applicable FMCSA regulations, including the preparation of paper RODS for operations currently considered subject to HOS rules, and the supporting documents and record retention requirements associated with those RODS.
  4. Carriers covered by this waiver must be unrated or have a ‘‘satisfactory’’ safety rating from the FMCSA. Carriers with ‘‘conditional’’ or ‘‘unsatisfactory’’ safety ratings are not covered.
  5. Carriers covered by the waiver must ensure that their driver carries a copy of the Federal Register notice and be ready to present it to safety enforcement officials upon request.
  6. The waiver requires that carriers notify the FMCSA within five business days of an accident, as defined in 49 CFR 390.5, involving any of their drivers operating under the terms of the waiver. The notification must include Identity of Waiver: ‘‘TRALA,’’ date of the accident, city or town, and state where the accident occurred or closest to the accident scene, driver’s name and license number, co-driver’s name and license number (if applicable), vehicle number and state license number, among others. Accident notifications must be emailed to MCPSD@dot.gov.
  7. Drivers and their carriers covered by the waiver must maintain their safety record. Should any safety problems be discovered, the FMCSA will take all steps necessary to protect the public’s interest.
  8. Use of the waiver is voluntary, and the FMCSA has the right to revoke the waiver for failure to comply with the terms and conditions.

What’s next?

The FMCSA has granted TRALA a 90-day ELD waiver for short-term rental trucks, and the waiver would expire on April 19, 2019. After that, short-term rental trucks would require compliant electronic logging devices.

On the other hand, non-exempt truckers already need FMCSA-registered ELDs, according to the final ELD rule.

If you are still looking for an ELD, request a free demo of the Motive ELD today.