Hours of service and driver jobs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)  recently posted a notice regarding driver jobs and hours of service.

FMCSA grants a limited 3-month waiver from the Federal hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for electronic logging devices (ELDs) to motor carriers and drivers operating property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMV s) that are rented for a period not exceeding 30 days.

The agency takes this action in response to a waiver request from the Truck Renting and Leasing Association, Inc. (TRALA). 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 Transportation Equity Act for the 21 st Century (TEA-21) (Public Law 105-178, 1 12 Stat. 107, sec. 4007(a) June 9, 1998) provides the Secretary of Transportation (the Secretary) the authority to grant waivers from any of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations issued under Chapter 313 of Title 49 of the United States Code or 49 U.S.C. 31136, to a person(s) seeking regulatory relief (49 U.S.C. 31136(e), 31315(a)). The Secretary must make a determination that the waiver is in the public interest and that it is likely to achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the waiver. Individual waivers may be granted only for a specific unique, non-emergency event, for a period up to three months. TEA-21 authorizes the Secretary to grant waivers without prior notice or request for public comment.

TRALA is a national trade association representing companies that engage in  commercial truck renting and leasing as well as consumer truck rentals. 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. 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.

In November 2016, TRALA submitted a petition requesting a 5-year exemption on behalf of operators of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles rented for 30 days or fewer from the requirement that motor carriers whose drivers are required to keep records of duty status (RODS) under the HOS rules generally must employ ELDs beginning December 18, 2017, in lieu of paper logs, pursuant to an FMCSA rule published December 16, 2015 (80 FR 78292). While TRALA stated that it supported the ELD mandate, it was concerned about unintended technical and operational consequences that would unfairly and adversely affect short-term rental vehicles, namely, lack of interoperability between the motor carrier’s ELD technology and the rental company’s platform, potentially precluding data transfer between the two systems.