Are AOBRD Devices Still Compliant?

ELD or AOBRD? Are AOBRD devices are still compliant now that the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate has gone into effect? In this article, we outline the basics on AOBRDs.

What are AOBRD Devices?

An AOBRD, or Automatic On-Board Recording Device, is an electronic device that records a driver’s Hours of Service as laid out in the U.S. Hours of Service of Drivers regulations Section § 395.15 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Can Carriers Still Use AOBRDs?

To be considered compliant, AOBRDs must be:

  • Installed by motor carrier and rolled out before the ELD compliance deadline of December 18, 2017
  • Meets the requirements of 49 CFR 395.15

The FMCSA allows the use of AOBRDs, called grandfathered AOBRDs, if they fulfill the above criteria.

ELDs Only After December 16, 2019

The Full Compliance Phase of the ELD rule begins on December 16, 2019. After this date, drivers and motor carriers are must use self-certified ELDs. AOBRDs, logging software and paper logs will all be phased out at this point. For a full explanation on ELD self-certification, see this post.

In order for a carrier to use an AOBRD, the device must be able to record engine use, road speed, miles driven, the date, and time of day.

AOBRD, EOBR & ELD: Definitions

You may see a few different terms used in relation to keeping records of duty status (RODs), including AOBRD, EOBR and ELD. Here is a quick definition of each term and the related regulations.

For an electronic logging history, see this white paper on the ELD rule.

Term Definition Background
AOBRD Automatic On-Board Recording Device In 1988, with the arrival of new technology for recording a truck driver’s duty status, the Automatic On-Board Recording (AOBRD) Rule was published to set out standards for use.
EOBR Electronic On-Board Recorder The FMCSA expanded regulations in 2010 with a rule on Electronic On-Board Recorders for Hours of Service. Interstate commercial truck and bus companies with a history of serious HOS violations would be required to use EOBRs. However, after a court challenge, the FMCSA vacated the EOBR rule.
ELD Electronic Logging Device In 2015, the ELD Final Rule was published setting out the technical requirements for electronic logging devices. The rule provided a two stage compliance timeline for carriers and drivers to transition from paper logs, logging software, and AOBRDs over to ELDs.


What’s the Difference between an AOBRD and ELD?

There are a number of important technical differences between AOBRDs and ELDs, specifically, the features and functions.

How ELDs Differ from AOBRDs:

  • Internal synchronization is more clearly defined.
  • Requires recording of location information of the commercial motor vehicle each duty status change, plus every 60 minutes while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Graph grid of driver’s duty status changes is required (display or printout).  
  • Must provide warning of unassigned driving time/miles when driver logs in.
  • Default to on-duty not driving status when the vehicle has stopped for five consecutive minutes and no driver response to ELD prompt.
  • Synchronization to Universal Coordinated Time (UTC).
  • Enhanced resistance to tampering.

Overall, ELDs have ushered in a new data-driven era in trucking. With new capabilities in vehicle tracking and integration, carriers can expect benefits in compliance, efficiency, and improved customer satisfaction and driver safety.

Find more ELD learning resources on our Compliance page.


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