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TRALA ELD Petition Placed into Federal Register - Comments Requested

Today, TRALA's petition asking for a five-year enforcement exemption from the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate for short-term rentals was published in the Federal Register by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Today, TRALA's petition asking for a five-year enforcement exemption from the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate for short-term rentals was published in the Federal Register by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
 
TRALA has been working for the past year to address a major problem within the mandate impacting short-term rentals.  Given the technological problems as well as the logistical and costly effects this mandate would have on TRALA members and their customers that utilize short-term rental vehicles, particularly small businesses, TRALA issued its formal petition on November 1, 2016.  You can view TRALA's petition by clicking here.
 
Within one week, FMCSA responded with a letter that you can view here saying that they had accepted TRALA's request to publish the five-year exemption petition. This followed multiple meetings TRALA had organized with its members and FMCSA officials as well as several discussions with congressional staff that serve both the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee regarding the issues facing the rental industry and its customers.
 
Since then however, because of the change in administrations and a mandate made by the Trump Administration to review all regulations that each agency had underway, TRALA's petition was delayed.  TRALA worked to lobby both Congress and the White House to expedite the handling of this petition given the timely nature of the request and the fact that FMCSA had already agreed to review the merits of the petition in November. 
 
The key points TRALA made in its petition were:
 
  • While some exemptions for short-haul drivers exist in the original mandate, too many rental trucks whose customers must report hours-of-service on paper logs currently would not be covered and thus forced to use ELDs even if they are not regular drivers or only need replacement rental trucks.
  • Despite strides being made, current telematics systems are not compatible across all platforms.  A customer that is required to use an ELD may rent a truck that has one operating system on the truck but the customer may use another operating system. 
  • OEMs admit that "plug and play" technology where ELD systems are interoperable is years away from being operational.
  • Because of incompatibility issues, often times the telematics system will not operate fully and will be overridden by the customer's ELD system.  Critical information needed such as for IFTA and IRP mileage and fuel usage can be lost for the owner of the vehicle in this scenario. 
  • A leased or owned vehicle that breaks down is often replaced temporarily by a short-term rental vehicle.  This short-term rental vehicle would need to be outfitted with the exact same telematics system or it would not be in compliance with the mandate, creating logistical problems for both the lessor and lessee.
  • Seasonal rentals that rent during peak holiday seasons often have multiple drivers which operate the same vehicle.  These drivers would each need their own ELD subscription which would be costly and could cause a loss of business.
  • All ELD subscriptions start at a year-long term, meaning that if a rental customer only needed a truck for two weeks a year, it still must purchase a year-long subscription which particularly impacts small businesses.
 
Now that FMCSA has published TRALA's petition, there is a 30-day period in which anyone may issue comments in support or opposition to the petition.  It is critical for all TRALA members, their customers, and allied companies and associations that use rental trucks to issue supportive comments as soon as possible.  TRALA has completed a sample letter which can be viewed here. You are encouraged to expand upon the contents to make as clear a case as possible for why this exemption is needed for your company.
 
In discussions with FMCSA this week, TRALA was told that once the comment period is completed on April 21, the agency would likely take between 30-45 days - if all goes smoothly - to determine whether or not to accept TRALA's petition, which means a final decision could be reached as early as June 1.  This is why supportive comments are so important - if TRALA members, customers and friends all flood the FMCSA with comments in support of TRALA's petition, it will boost significantly the likelihood that FMCSA will decide to adopt the petition.
 
Please file your comments as soon as possible as they must be submitted by April 21 and please let TRALA know once they are completed and filed with FMCSA.  You can file comments on-line by clicking here which takes you directly to the TRALA petition comment page.  If you prefer to send in your letter through the mail, please follow the directions given on the front page of the published petition
 
Feel free to use TRALA's sample letter as a template for your comments but the more personal and unique you can make them the more they will be taken into account.  If you are a motor carrier, please forward this to your customers and ask them to write their own comments, crafting letters from the perspective of a customer and not simply a trucking company will also have a strong impact.  It is important to remember that every comment letter must include the docket number which is:  Docket Number:  FMCSA-2016-0428
 
TRALA urges you to contact Jake Jacoby if you have questions, want help filing your comments, or would like to discuss issues involving the petition in more detail.  You can contact Jake at 703-299-9120 or at jjacoby@trala.org
 
 
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