Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA)
Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA)
Daphne Y. Jefferson
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
11 October 2017
[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 195 (Wednesday, October 11, 2017)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-21892]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0428]
Hours of Service of Drivers: Application for Exemption; Truck
Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA)
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for
SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant the Truck Renting and
Leasing Association (TRALA) a limited exemption from the requirement to
use an electronic logging device (ELD) to record the driver's hours-of-
service (HOS) no later than December 18, 2017. This limited exemption
provides that all drivers of property-carrying commercial motor
vehicles (CMVs) rented for 8 days or less, regardless of reason, are
not required to use an ELD in the vehicle. While operating under this
exemption, drivers will remain subject to the standard hours-of-service
(HOS) limits, maintain a paper record of duty status (RODS) if
required, and maintain a copy of the rental agreement on the vehicle.
FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public comments
and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms and
conditions imposed, will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent
to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such
DATES: The exemption is applicable from October 11, 2017 through
October 11, 2022.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas Yager, Chief, FMCSA Driver
and Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver and Vehicle
Safety Standards; Telephone: 614-942-6477. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov.
FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant
exemptions from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).
FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal
Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the public an
opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the application,
including any safety analyses that have been conducted. The Agency must
also provide an opportunity for public comment on the request.
The Agency reviews the safety analyses and the public comments, and
determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level
of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be
achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The decision of
the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR
381.315(b)) with the reason for the grant or denial, and, if granted,
the specific person or class of persons receiving the exemption, and
the regulatory provision or provisions from which exemption is granted.
The notice must also specify the effective period of the exemption (up
to 5 years), and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The
exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).
Request for Exemption
TRALA is a national trade association of companies whose members
engage in commercial truck renting and leasing, vehicle finance
leasing, and consumer truck rental. Its membership encompasses major
independent firms such as Ryder System, Penske Truck Leasing, U-Haul,
Budget, and Enterprise Truck Rental, as well as small and medium-size
businesses that generally participate as members of four leasing group
systems: Idealease, NationaLease, PACCAR Leasing Company, and Mack
Leasing System-Volvo Truck Leasing System. In total, its nearly 500
member companies operate more than 5,000 commercial leasing and rental
locations, and more than 20,000 consumer rental locations throughout
the United States, Mexico and Canada.
``Renting'' is a term of art in the vehicle leasing industry,
generally meaning a transaction granting the exclusive use of a vehicle
for 30 days or less, whereas a lease generally means a transaction
granting the exclusive use of a vehicle for more than 30 days. TRALA's
application is on behalf of all drivers of property-carrying commercial
motor vehicles (CMVs) rented for 30 days or less.
While TRALA stated that it fully supports FMCSA's final rule to
mandate ELDs, it is concerned about the unintended technical and
operational consequences that will unfairly and adversely affect short-
term rental vehicles. The commercial vehicle rental industry provides
short-term rental services to a large population of drivers on a daily
basis. Most of these drivers will normally employ an ELD to comply with
the new rule. Considering the significant number of different device
platforms and subscription options, it is unlikely that the driver's
device would be able to communicate properly with the rental company's
telematics platform. TRALA states that while FMCSA recognized during
the rulemaking process these issues associated with a lack of
interoperability among ELD systems, and required certain technical
specifications in the final rule, the Agency stopped short of requiring
full interoperability among ELDs.
Many commenters to the proposed ELD rule raised similar
interoperability concerns. However, the rule requires only that ELDs
can transfer data electronically via either a ``telematics'' approach
capable of wireless web service, or a ``local'' method capable of
Bluetooth and USB 2.0 transfer. Furthermore, according to TRALA, the
Agency decided ``not to require full interoperability between all
ELDs,'' reasoning that ``[a]lthough full interoperability would have
some benefits, it would also be complicated and costly'' (80 FR 78327,
December 16, 2015). According to commenters, the Agency left it to the
ELD manufacturers to address many concerns regarding non-
interoperability of the various software systems on the market.
TRALA elaborated on its two primary issues of concern relating to
the exemption request: (1) Data transfer and, (2) data liability.
TRALA described two potential data transfer problems. First, a
customer who 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, upon request by an authorized safety official, a driver must
produce and transfer the driver's HOS records from an ELD in accordance
with 49 CFR 395.24(d). This would include the driver's duty status for
the current 24-hour period and the prior seven days. However, 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. TRALA states that scenario would be
considered an ``ELD malfunction'' and the driver would be required to
reconstruct the RODS for the current 24-hour period and the previous
seven consecutive days on graph grid paper logs. TRALA's application
requests that drivers of short-term rental vehicles be allowed to avoid
the uncertainties of attempting compliance with the HOS rules using
non-compatible ELD systems, and instead use paper RODS during the
TRALA contends that CMVs are more prone to break-downs than non-
CMVs because of their heavy use. When CMVs
break-down, they are often replaced temporarily by short-term rental
vehicles until the original truck can be repaired. TRALA claims that
these repairs can take days, if not several weeks, to complete. 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.
TRALA's second primary issue involves data liability concerns.
TRALA states that it has been suggested that rental companies should be
able to collect and report ELD data to customers, allowing customers to
access the data seamlessly. However, the final rule does not require
ELDs to be capable of reading and combining exported data from other
providers. Furthermore, lessors do not have the ability to combine data
from different devices into one report. Requiring lessors to bear the
burden of safeguarding the data for each renter would expose the rental
company to tremendous risk with respect to data security and
protection. All parties involved in the business transaction would
probably reject rental companies' assumption of these risks on behalf
of their customers.
On March 22, 2017, FMCSA published notice of this application and
requested public comment (82 FR 14789). The Agency received 429 docket
comments, over 95% supporting the TRALA request. Among those in favor
of the exemption were the following industry trade associations: The
American Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA); the National Association of
Chemical Distributors (NACD), National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC),
National Private Truck Council (NPTC), Truckload Carriers Association
(TCA), and the National Automobile Dealership Association (NADA). The
fireworks industry, including the American Pyrotechnics Association
(APA), filed 30 comments in support of the request. Principal opponents
of the exemption were the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
(Advocates) and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver's Association
Commenters gave three primary reasons in support of the request.
First, they believe there is currently a significant technology gap
that will not allow different ELD systems to communicate and share
information with each other. As many rental companies must individually
collect their own data to comply with the International Fuel Tax
Agreement (IFTA) and International Registration Plan, the
interoperability of ELD technology will create more challenges than
solutions for the short-term rental market as compared to the vast
majority of trucks that are owned or leased.
Further, all ELDs must be capable of exporting data in a standard
file format to facilitate importing by other systems. However, devices
and systems are not required to be capable of importing these records.
This means that transferring data, whether through ``memory sticks'' or
other applications, will not work with the technology currently
available. TRALA states that several ELD manufacturers have already
commented that ``plug and play'' devices are years away from being
operational; and given the small percentage of trucks that would be
impacted by these efforts, it is unlikely that major technological
advances will occur in the next few years.
Another benefit of a short-term rental exemption would be a simpler
roadside inspection process since short-term rentals of 30 days or less
do not require a truck to display the user's U.S. DOT number. The
continued use of paper logs would alleviate any confusion in the
inspection process since a law enforcement officer would immediately
recognize a short-term rental vehicle when handed the rental agreement.
That consistency would speed up the process and create less confusion.
This current rule also requires that a rental contract of 30 days or
less be carried in the truck at all times. This existing requirement
can allow authorities to confirm the short-term nature of the rental.
Those opposing the TRALA request commented that the application
does not meet the statutory and regulatory requirements for the
exemption. It fails to consider practical alternatives, justify the
need for the exemption, provide an analysis of the safety impacts the
requested exemption may cause, and provide information on the specific
countermeasures to be undertaken to ensure that the exemption will
achieve an equivalent or greater level of safety than would be achieved
absent the exemption.
A second comment in opposition noted that TRALA cites technical
concerns regarding interoperability of data between devices, truck
break-downs, and data transfer and liability concerns as reasons why
their vehicles should be exempted from the ELD mandate. While these
points are legitimate, the commenter argued that they are not limited
to the truck renting and leasing industry. Carriers of all sizes will
encounter these same problems, along with ELD manufacturers and law
enforcement agencies. Exempting one segment of the trucking industry
will not change that.
All comments are available for review in the docket for this
FMCSA has evaluated TRALA's application and the public comments and
decided to grant a limited exemption for the driver and carrier of a
CMV rented for 8 days or fewer, regardless of reason. FMCSA has
determined that an exemption period of up to 30 days, as requested, is
unnecessarily long given the importance of ELDs to ensure the accuracy
of HOS records. One condition of the exemption is that a copy of the
rental agreement must be carried on the vehicle and made available to
law enforcement. Another is that the driver must possess copies of his
or her RODS for the current and prior 7 days, if required on those
A high proportion of the comments supported the exemption. The
Agency believes that an exemption period of up to 8 days for drivers of
rental CMVs would give most carriers sufficient time to repair or
replace their usual vehicles while minimizing any temptation to extend
non-ELD operations. The use of paper records of duty status (RODS) will
not create an undue risk of non-compliance when limited to this short
period. An 8-day exemption period coincides with 49 CFR 395.34(d),
which provides that a motor carrier that receives or discovers
information about an ELD malfunction must correct it within 8 days.
During that 8-day malfunction window, the driver must reconstruct the
RODS for the current 24-hour period, and the previous seven consecutive
days. The 8-day exemption for rental CMVs would follow that pattern.
The exempt driver must have a copy of his/her RODS for the current day
and the prior seven days. Under these conditions, FMCSA believes that
exempt drivers and carriers--like those operating under section
395.34(d)--are likely to achieve a level of safety that is equivalent
to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption
(49 CFR 381.305(a)). In addition, the 2014 ``The Rental Truck Safety
Study Report to Congress,'' prepared by FMCSA,\1\ found no problem with
rental trucks. In the period 2005-2010, the Trucks Involved in Fatal
Accidents (TIFA) database recorded no instances in which the critical
for the crash was assigned to the rental truck driver.
Terms and Conditions of the Exemption
Terms of the Exemption
This exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR
395.8(a)(1)(i) is effective from October 11, 2017 through October 11,
This exemption covers a rental period of 8 days or fewer,
regardless of reason for the rental. Evidence that 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
the penalties for failure to use an ELD.
Drivers must have a copy of this notice or equivalent
signed FMCSA exemption document in their possession while operating
under the terms of the exemption. The exemption document must be
presented to law enforcement officials upon request.
Drivers must have a copy of the rental agreement in the
CMV, and make it available to law enforcement officers on request. The
agreement must clearly identify the parties to the agreement, the
vehicle, and the dates of the rental period.
Driver must possess copies of their RODS for the current
day and the prior 7 days, if required on those days.
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31313(d), as implemented by 49 CFR
381.600, during the 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. States may, but are not
required to, adopt the same exemption with respect to operations in
Notification to FMCSA
Carriers operating under this exemption must notify FMCSA within 5
business days of any accident (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5), involving
any of the motor carrier's drivers operating under the terms of this
exemption. The notification must include the following information:
(a) Identity of Exemption: ``TRALA''
(b) Date of the accident,
(c) City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or
closest to the accident scene,
(d) Driver's name and license number,
(e) Co-driver's name and license number,
(f) Vehicle number and State license number,
(g) Number of individuals suffering physical injury,
(h) Number of fatalities,
(i) The police-reported cause of the accident,
(j) Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws,
motor carrier safety regulations, and
(k) The total driving time and total on-duty time period prior to
Accident notifications shall be emailed to MCPSD@dot.gov.
FMCSA believes that drivers of short-term rental vehicles will
continue to maintain their previous safety record while operating under
this exemption. However, should problems occur, FMCSA will take all
steps necessary to protect the public interest, including revocation or
restriction of the exemption. FMCSA will immediately restrict
participation in the exemption for failure to comply with its terms and
Issued on: September 28, 2017.
Daphne Y. Jefferson,
[FR Doc. 2017-21892 Filed 10-10-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P