Safety Corner

How does the ELD mandate apply to a driver using a rented or a leased truck?

Dear Marc,

How does the ELD mandate apply to a driver who is using a rented or a leased truck?


Dear Reader,

As you know, the ELD mandate applies to drivers and motor carriers unless otherwise exempt. On the other hand, rental and leasing companies are typically not covered by these regulations unless they are defined as a motor carrier involved in interstate commerce. That is not usually the case, therefore they are not carriers, and they do not employ the driver who will be operating the rental or leased vehicle.

It is important to note that although ELD is vehicle specific, the actual regulation is designed for driver compliance. The regulation provides for specific exceptions to types of vehicles. On the other hand, an ELD will be required if the driver operating the vehicle is required to use an ELD unless otherwise exempt.

In those circumstances where a driver is assigned a vehicle while not ELD exempt, it is up to the motor carrier to ensure that the driver complies with the ELD rule-making.


Partial exemption

On October 11, 2017, the FMCSA did grant a partial ELD exemption to truckers from the requirement to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to record the driver’s hours-of-service. The prescribed condition is when driving short-term rental truck for eight or fewer days.

While operating under this exemption, drivers will continue to remain subject to the standard hours-of-service (HOS) limits. This includes maintain a paper record of duty status (RODS) if required, as well as maintaining and make available to law enforcement a copy of the rental agreement on the vehicle when requested. Another requirement is that the driver must also possess copies of his or her RODS for the current and prior 7 days, if required on those days.

This ELD exemption is valid for five years, therefore from October 11, 2017 through October 11, 2022.


Background on the exemption

In March 2017, an organization called the Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) had requested for an ELD exemption for truckers who were driving short-term rental trucks for 30 days or less.

The FMCSA decided to grant a limited ELD exemption to TRALA. Instead of granting the exemption for up to 30 days, the FMCSA decided to waive ELD usage for short-term rental trucks for 8 or fewer days. Moreover, if a carrier were found to be attempting to renew the rental agreement for the same truck for an additional 8 days or replacing the rental truck with another, it would be considered a violation by the agency.

In granting this exemption, FMCSA stated that the 8-day period would give most carriers sufficient time to repair or replace their usual vehicles.


Notwithstanding the above exemption for rental trucks, here are a few important things to remember:

  • Truckers operating a rental truck are still subject to the Hours of Service rules and regulations;
  • Truckers who drive short-term rental trucks will still have to maintain paper logs for the current and prior seven days, if required;
  • A copy of the rental agreement will have to be kept in the truck for law enforcement officers;
  • A copy of the exemption notice will also be required to be kept in the truck;
  • Carriers operating under this exemption must notify FMCSA within five 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 accident notification must include the following information and must be emailed to
    1. Identity of Exemption: “TRALA”;
    2. Date of the accident;
    3. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or closest to the accident scene;
    4. Driver’s name and license number;
    5. Co-driver’s name and license number;
    6. Vehicle number and State license number;
    7. Number of individuals suffering physical injury;
    8. Number of fatalities;
    9. The police-reported cause of the accident;
    10. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws, motor carrier safety regulations; and
    11. The total driving time and total on-duty time period prior to the accident.

Review the truck rental and leasing ELD exemption in detail.

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