Since the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill in 2012, the trucking and commercial transportation industry has gone through an important adjustment in regard to electronic logging devices (ELDs). Traditional paper logbooks and automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) were replaced with ELD’s to streamline drivers’ RODS automation and their surveillance by the authorities. In this article, we will talk about the AOBRD vs ELD differences and mandate compliance.

What Is an AOBRD Device?

In the late 1980s, the AOBRD (Automatic Onboard Recording Device) was designed to comply with hours of service (HOS) rules around miles driven, speed, and dates/times through a connection to the engine. In addition, AOBRDs were created to meet the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) regulations at the time and to monitor a driver’s duty status compliance.

In 1988, the AOBRD rule was published to maintain standards of usage. This is to ensure compliance mandated in the U.S. Section § 395.15 for hours of service (HOS) of driver’s regulations. For instance, AOBRDs capture record of duty status (RODS) data for each duty status change. Furthermore, an AOBRD records the locations covered. Then, the AOBRD can publish the data findings either through the display or a printout.

Happy professional truck driver

ELD Mandate and AOBRD

In order to improve safety around road traffic, and drivers, the FMCSA issued the ELD mandate. This mandate is also known as the ELD Final rule, which requires truck drivers to install electronic logging devices. These devices then automatically record the time drivers spend driving, their GPS location, how many miles were driven, and their engine hours.

The mandate was first published on December 2015 and the deadline was set for December 18, 2017. Drivers who were required to maintain RODS (Records of Duty Status) are now required to install and use electronic logging devices.

Here are the official categories who qualify for an exemption:

  • Drivers with vehicles manufactured before 2000.
  • Drivers who perform towaway, and driveaway, services with the vehicles as products to be delivered.
  • Drivers who need to use a paper log for no more than eight days over any 30-day time frame.
  • Drivers who are not mandated to keep RODS.

In addition, there is a temporary exemption for drivers who use AOBRDs installed before the December 17, 2017 deadline. Nonetheless, all AOBRD users must transition to ELDs no later than December 16, 2019 – this is also known as the grandfather rule.

If an AOBRD is no longer in operating condition after December 18, 2017 – and it is no longer under warranty – then it must be replaced by an ELD. And, if it is under warranty, it can be replaced by another AOBRD but 49 CFR Part 379 Appendix A maintains that all records of equipment replacements must be kept.

Full ELD compliance is mandated by December 16, 2019. There aren’t any anticipated extensions to the full compliance deadline.

Do you have any questions? Talk to  ELD Advisor:  650-405-3372 or Request Callback

Flexible plans whether you have 1 or 500 vehicles

Is There an Option for a Company Switch to a New AOBRD Provider?

Due to the immediacy and somewhat nebulous requirements, there are many assumptions going around about switching to a new AOBRD provider. Even utilizing the grandfather rule, a carrier will not be able to transition with a new AOBRD provider. Bill Quade, FMCSA Associate Administrator for Enforcement has stated that any carrier who changes vendors will no longer qualify for the legacy AOBRD system grandfather rule exemption. Consequently, carriers cannot install non-ELD devices after December 18, 2017.


What are the Differences Between AOBRDs and ELDs?

This is a fair question since transitioning can bring up some complex issues. There are several major differences around functions and features. Here are just a few variances that ELDs have versus AOBRDs:

  • Clearer internal synchronization
  • Every duty status change implements the recording of location information; the same is true for every 60 minutes the vehicle is moving.
  • Gives warnings of unassigned miles/driving time whenever the driver logs in.
  • Increased protections to prevent tampering.
  • The requirement for a display, or printout, of a graph grid about the driver’s duty status changes.
  • Uses Universal Coordinated Time (UTC).
  • Records every edit made and by who.
  • Accuracy within one mile when “On-Duty Driving.”
  • Automatically recorded events can only be annotated.
  • DOT inspectors can easily view the edit history.
  • Driving time is not editable.

As you can see, ELDs have more restrictions than AOBRDs have had. To illustrate, if the vehicle has stopped moving for five minutes consecutively, and the driver has not responded in 60 seconds, then the ELD will instantaneously switch the driver’s duty to “On-Duty, Not Driving.”

And, even if a mechanic takes a test drive, the ELD will account for those miles too. All of these types of restrictions have created some obstacles around adjustment time for drivers who were used to using more lenient AOBRDs.

Why Is Now the Time to Switch to ELD?

The industry has focused much of their time around ELD compliance, especially since the clock is ticking. Right now, we are in phase two of three. This means that existing AOBRDs are still compliant until phase three comes around. It goes without saying that enforcement will get stronger over the coming years. Yet, some DOT officers still can’t tell the difference between an AOBRD or an ELD.

What does this mean for drivers? It suggests they should all know the clear difference between each type of device and have the ability to accurately convey why they are still in compliance. You will also start to see AOBRD providers who are already moving to ELDs. So, you must have a transition strategy focusing on these specific facets:

  • Covering compliance until December 2019. Have a printout of every driver’s log, for every operating truck.
  • Create a list of vendors with accompanying analysis. Look for reputable and experienced providers.
  • Set aside enough time for ELD testing. You need to ensure the ELDs operate properly and within the scope of the mandate.
  • Prepare a training schedule. Your drivers must feel comfortable working with, and operating, the ELD systems.
  • Have some space for any unexpected issues or technical problems. By December 16, 2019, enforcement officers should be well-prepared.

The reasons above convey that now is the time to start planning to ensure the systems are compliant and operational before phase three.

Do you have any questions? Talk to  ELD Advisor:  650-405-3372 or Request Callback

Add options as you grow when you need them

How to Transit From AOBRD to ELD for Current HOS247 Customers

For drivers, who have purchased any engine-connected electronic log system before December 18, 2017, they can operate with their ABORDs up until December 16, 2019. Until then, HOS247 customers have the flexibility to operate in grandfathered AOBRD. In fact, you have complete support for two modes to ensure your fleet is in full compliance.

Moreover, you don’t need to purchase any additional hardware. What’s most important is the fact that you can switch from AOBRD mode into 100 percent ELD compliance whenever you’re ready – before the mandated deadline. Plus, at HOS247, our product is both modular and customizable to meet your fleet’s unique needs.

HOS247 ELD application

How to Transit From AOBRD to HOS247 ELD for New Customers

AT HOS247, your FMCSA-approved ELD comes with a dedicated account manager to ensure you can accurately monitor your electronic logs. Why HOS247? Well, here are just a few reasons:

  • Our logs and interface are fully driver-friendly. They are both easy-to-use, and edit, via the logbook app.
  • Top-rated customer support – check our customer’s reviews
  • Multilingual team. Languages spoken include English, Spanish, Russian and Polish.
  • Enhanced flexibility with ELD, optional tablets, GPS tracking, IFTA mileage reports, vehicle diagnostics, maintenance, and new dispatch features.

While ELDs may seem more restrictive than AOBRDs, they are mandated by law as of December 16, 2019. Yet, they also reduce paperwork and save time. They do help drivers plan better for loads since they provide dispatchers with the latest updates on a driver’s status.

To learn more, contact HOS247 today. Our dedicated support managers are highly-trained to help with all your ELD, and FMCSA compliance needs.

"Awesome. Easy to install and use. Top notch customer service! I recommend it to everyone.”

Abigail Freemantle
Schrader Co
“Great company to deal with. The support team is very responsive and competent. They provided a great deal of education for our company.”
Evgueni Stoupine
GMS Global Group
“Customer service is great. They helped me to set up everything and showed how to edit my logs. Thank you.”

Ilya Kulagin
Manuel Jenez
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