ELD Compliance for Rental and Leased Trucks

When you need to rent or lease a truck, what's the best way to comply with the mandate?

Published On: 01/09/2019
ELD Compliance for Rental and Leased Trucks Compliance Brief
J. J. Keller Industry Consultant Tom Bray

Written by:

Tom Bray

Sr. Industry Business Advisor — J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

A recurring question related to the new electronic logging device (ELD) regulation is, “How does the ELD mandate apply to a driver using a rented or leased truck?” Leading to some confusion is the fact that while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not regulate truck leasing and rental operations, they do regulate carriers.

Summary of Requirements

Hours of Service regulations apply to carriers and their drivers. This includes the ELD mandate when it goes into effect. Equipment providers, as in leasing and rental companies, are not covered by these regulations as they are not carriers and do not employ the driver operating the vehicle.

The key here is that while the ELD must be mounted in the vehicle, the ELD regulation is actually a driver requirement. In other words, the regulation does not require that all commercial vehicles in the United States be equipped with an ELD. An ELD is only necessary when the driver operating the vehicle is required to use one.

According to the FMCSA, if the carrier puts a driver that must use an ELD into a rented or leased truck, it is up to the carrier and equipment providers to come up with business practices that keep the carrier compliant. A carrier can accomplish this either of two ways: install one of its ELDs in the vehicle, or, use a ELD already installed in the vehicle by the equipment provider.


The first option involves the rental/lease provider allowing the carrier to install an ELD into the vehicle. This may require some calibration as many ELDs need some basic vehicle information to work with a “new” power unit.

Whether the carrier is entering into a long- or short-term lease, the equipment provider will likely not be thrilled with carriers making certain adjustments to vehicles they own and may have specific instructions on where holes can be drilled, harnesses can be run, and connections made. Furthermore, spending a lot of man-hours installing and removing the ELD from vehicles that are on short-term leases or rentals would be rather inefficient considering the vehicle may only be in service for a day or two.

The solution may be to purchase spare ELDs that can be quickly and easily installed for use in the vehicles that are rented or under a short-term lease. If the carrier’s preferred ELDs require time-consuming installation and removal, choosing this option may mean the carrier will have to buy
a few spare ELDs of a different design that can be more quickly and easily installed.

Alternatively, the carrier may purchase the ELD and have the equipment provider perform the installation. This could be done by the carrier’s driver bringing the ELD to the equipment provider or the provider having a few of the carrier’s ELDs in stock at their facility for future use.
When a rental or short-term lease unit is needed by the carrier, the provider uses the carrier’s ELD and installs it as part of the prep. This way, the install is done to the provider’s liking and the carrier has its own ELD in the vehicle, making setup easier.


The second option is for the equipment provider to supply the carrier with a vehicle that already has an ELD in it. In this case, the ELD would be purchased, installed, maintained, and managed by the rental or leasing company. When the vehicle is assigned to a carrier, the carrier would simply provide the rental company with the driver’s login information and password. The equipment provider would then “turn on” the ELD and allow the driver to log in and use it with his/her credentials. Electronic hours of service records could be forwarded to the carrier by the equipment provider or directly by the driver via cell connection, email, or file download. The carrier would then import the records into its system.

Start the Conversation Now

Using an ELD that is compatible with drivers’ smart phones or tablets may be the easiest option for a carrier to manage. With the J. J. Keller® Encompass® ELog system, the driver downloads the J. J. Keller Mobile® app on their smart device, and the app works via Bluetooth with the ELD. This way, drivers can move to any truck that has the J. J. Keller® ELD installed, and continue using J. J. Keller Mobile on their smart device.

If you are a carrier that uses rental and/or leased equipment, you need to start having conversations with your equipment provider and becoming more familiar with your options. To guarantee compliance with the ELD mandate, do not wait until the last minute.

Encompass ELD screen transparent screen

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