Blog > AOBRD vs. ELD: What You Need to Know to Make the Switch
Trucks on freeway
ELD, Fleet Management, Efficiency

AOBRD vs. ELD: What You Need to Know to Make the Switch

October 31, 2019

Is your fleet navigating the FMCSA emergency COVID-19 HOS suspension? Read our FAQ to learn what the new rules are, if they apply to your fleet, and how to adjust your operations to stay compliant.

More than forty percent of drivers still use Automatic On-Board Recording Devices, or AOBRDs, even as the December 16, 2019 deadline to switch from AOBRD to ELD quickly approaches in the United States. If you are still using AOBRDS, consider switching sooner, to make the transition easier on your team and to decrease the chances of unexpected delays.

Learn more about Samsara

The difference between ELDs and AOBRDs

An AOBRD and ELD are both electronic devices that record a driver's Hours of Service, but an ELD provides more advanced recording features that make it compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) ELD mandate.

The ELD mandate is a US regulation requiring operators of commercial motor vehicles to use electronic logging devices to track Hours of Service (HOS). The mandate went into effect in December 2017 to replace paper logs and reduce instances of unsafe driving.

The mandate provided a two-stage compliance timeline for vehicles to transition from AOBRDs to ELDs. The initial December 18, 2017 deadline required vehicles that had no electronic logging device to start using ELDs to record Hours of Service and the second and final deadline on December 16, 2019, requires all vehicles who are still on AOBRD to switch to ELD.

If you’ve been using AOBRD, it’s important to start familiarizing yourself with ELD functionality. Major differences between the two devices include:

  • Recorded information: AOBRDs and ELDs both record the date, vehicle mileage, engine hours, location information, and driver's duty status, but AOBRD devices do not capture information about the driver, whether the vehicle is on or off, or engine diagnostics.

  • Speed: ELDs automatically record drive time when the vehicle is moving at 5 mph or above; AOBRDs require fleet managers to manually set a speeding threshold that triggers drive time.

  • Edit functionality: AOBRDs and ELDs both record who made an edit and when, but ELDs require every edit to include an annotation and edit history must be available to DOT inspectors.

Learn more about Samsara

Other differences between AOBRD and ELD include:

1988 AOBRD Rule
2015 ELD Final Rule
Vehicle integration
Interfaces with the CMV engine ECM to capture engine power status, vehicle motion status, miles driven, engine hours
Location information
Required manual or automated entry at: change-of-duty status
Required automated entry at: change-of-duty status, 60-minute intervals while CMV is in motion, engine-on and engine-off instances, start and end of personal use and yard moves
Graph grid display
Not required
HOS driver messages
Not addressed
HOS limits notification is not required, "Unassigned driving time/miles" warning must be provided upon login
Device "default" duty status
Not addressed
Defaults to ‘on duty not driving’ when vehicle is not in motion for 5 minutes or longer or if driver has not responded to an ELD prompt within 1 minute
Clock-time drift
Not addressed
Time must be synchronized to UTC, absolute deviation must not exceed 10 consecutive minutes
Communication methods
Paper or electronic
Resistance to tampering
Tamperproof with increased monitoring capabilities
Identification of sensor failures and edited data
Must identify sensor failures and edited data
Must record compliance and monitor malfunctions or inconsistencies

When is the deadline to switch from AOBRD to ELD?

The deadline to switch is December 16, 2019.

How to make the transition

Eighty percent of fleets still using AOBRDs don't plan to switch to ELD until the second half of 2019. But waiting until the last moment might not be in your best interest.

Businesses that waited until the last minute to implement ELD experienced substantial implementation delays that occurred as a result of thousands of new customers onboarding at once. The AOBRD transition likely won't be much different—late adopters are more prone to experience hiccups along the way. Plus, moving away from AOBRDs will create significant HOS logging changes for drivers and changes in workflow for managers—so plan accordingly.

So, how should your team prepare for the AOBRD transition? Here’s a list of things to help your team comfortably make the transition.

  1. Identify what you need for implementation and create an install plan. If you have a larger fleet or are switching providers and need to de-install hardware, consider who will carry-out your installs and what the timeline will look like.

  2. Hold driver trainings so drivers understand how to log in and accurately track their Hours of Service.

  3. Create a process for senior leadership to gain visibility into those tracked hours.

  4. Partner with a provider that offers comprehensive support. Make sure the system you sign-up with has a team that can walk you through the transition process and is available to answer technical questions.

Learn more about Samsara

What Samsara customers can expect

With Samsara, it’s easy to transition from AOBRD to ELD. To switch to ELD mode, simply contact support to update your Samsara dashboard:

  • Toggle the AOBRD_mode feature flag OFF

  • Toggle the accept reject carrier_edits feature flag ON

If you’re an admin, there are a few things that will be different in the editing process:

  • Drivers will certify and submit their logs

  • Admins will suggest an edit to the driver log

  • Drivers will accept or reject the edit through the “Review Carrier Edits” button

Need assistance? Samsara now offers 24/7 support to make sure your team has everything it needs during the AOBRD switch and beyond.

The time to switch is now

With just a few months to go, making the switch to ELD devices sooner rather than later reduces the risk of compromising your compliance status.

As a complete Hours of Service solution for the ELD rule, Samsara keeps your fleet compliant and simplifies fleet management. Samsara's electronic logging device is an FMCSA-approved ELD that connects directly to a vehicle's engine through the OBD port. Live data is transmitted to the ELD so there is always an accurate log of when the engine is on or off, duty status changes, and what speed the vehicle is traveling.

Reach out today for a free demo or free trial to learn more about Samsara's ELD solution.

Learn more about Samsara

Similar posts like this

Fleet Safety, Fleet Management

Understanding the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot (SDAP): New FMCSA Program to Train Young Drivers

What motor carriers need to know about the young driver apprenticeship pilot program and requirements for participating

ELD, Fleet Management

Samsara Compliance Solution Now Certified for the Canadian ELD Mandate

Samsara has achieved third-party certification for our ELD solution, confirming compliance with the Canadian ELD mandate. We look forwa...

New Features, Fleet Management

Introducing New Workflows to Keep Drivers Safe and Productive

On National Truckers Day, we’re excited to share new workflows to guide every driver through the mission-critical moments of their day.

Get Started with Samsara

Check our prices