December 4, 2019


The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate is slated to go into full effect in just a couple of weeks.  This deadline signals the end to the grandfather period that allowed for the use of Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRD) since the regulation went into effect in December 2017.  As of December 16, 2019, all motor carriers and drivers subject to the ELD Mandate rule are required to use an ELD to record and transfer Hours of Service (HOS) data.

Ensuring the AOBRD to ELD transition is a smooth one is imperative to keeping your fleet operations consistent and federally compliant. ELDs may be difficult for some fleet owners and operators to get accustomed to at first; however, your participation in the transportation industry has most certainly presented you with greater challenges in the past.

Develop your understanding in support of the change

ELDs and AOBRDs are similar on the surface, but very different when you examine both devices closely — which is why understanding how they differ could improve your support of ELDs.

While both the AOBRD and the ELD have a connection to the commercial motor vehicle, it is important to note the AOBRD does not support the electronic file transfer methods outlined in the ELD Mandate final rule.  Additionally, the AOBRD does not record all the information required of an ELD under the technical standards of the regulations.

The FMCSA has created a website dedicated to helping you better understand ELD rules and devices.  One very helpful method they have developed for delivering information is a series of interactive training courses.  One such course reviews ELD basics, such as what an ELD is and what it does. It also takes a deep dive into the data transfer methods, the difference between ELDs and AOBRDs, tips for using ELDs, and how to address technical issues should you encounter them.

At their core, ELDs aim to streamline operations, improve accuracy of recorded data, and enhance the driver experience.  By holding drivers and their companies accountable to critical HOS regulations, ELDs help create a safer work environment by ensuring that drivers take the breaks they need.

Protect drivers and operations against possible out-of-service orders and fines

It’s no secret that some fleet owners are hesitant to get behind the ELD. However, avoiding the timely transition means your fleet won’t be compliant, and drivers will be subject to being placed out of service if they are not using an ELD when required.

Be sure drivers are adequately trained on the process for transferring electronic Record of Duty Status (eRODS) when requested by enforcement and have all required ELD-related documentation in their vehicle (including at least an 8-day supply of blank HOS graph-grids).

Up to this point, enforcement has been somewhat lenient, given the struggle to identify the difference between AOBRDs and ELDS and with the presumption non-compliant devices are grandfathered AOBRDs.  That leniency will disappear on December 17 when AOBRDs are no longer accepted.

Read our blog post from earlier this year on 4 steps you can take to ensure a smooth AOBRD to ELD migration process.