With the ELD mandate approaching its compliance deadline, the need for fleet owners to decide between AOBRDs or ELDs is becoming all the more important. There is a lot of confusion going on in the trucking industry, and the decision of choosing between the two types of devices has presented itself as a bigger challenge than expected.
Let’s take a step back and try to understand how these two devices are different from each other, and what choosing either of them would mean for your fleet.
Before we jump into the technical details, it is important to briefly recap the ‘grandfather’ clause in the ELD mandate.
According to the final ELD rule, the ELD mandate deadline is December 18, 2017. However, vehicles with AOBRDs will have two more years to install ELDs. In other words, for those vehicles, the ELD mandate deadline would be December 16, 2019.
Of course, they can install ELDs before 2019 if they want, but it won’t be mandatory for them like it would be for other vehicles that don’t have AOBRDs.
So this raises an important question: whether fleets should buy ELDs now or should they buy AOBRDs, extend the deadline by two years, and then buy ELDs after 2019.
Let’s discuss by first starting with the differences between ELDs and AOBRDs.
Both are hardware devices that connect with the vehicles’ engines, but there are some technical differences between them. The major differences are mostly about the information that AOBRDs and ELDs record.
For instance, ELDs record date and time, engine hours, vehicle miles, location, information on drivers, motor carrier, and vehicle, including malfunctions, engine on and off, logging in and out, etc.
AOBRDs, in comparison with ELDs, record less data, i.e., engine hours, vehicle miles, drive time, location, duty status, and date and time.
Another major difference is that ELDs don’t allow editing in driving time. With AOBRDs, you can edit driving time if it was attributed to the wrong driver.
So, which one should you buy? AOBRDs or ELDs?
Technically, you are allowed to buy AOBRDs now and get two more years for ELD implementation. However, it is not a financially viable decision.
You will be investing in a technology that you will have to replace within 24 months. This is why we recommend that everyone should buy ELDs now and be done with the whole ELD mandate thing.
However, there is another option if you prefer a bit more flexibility for a few more months.
There are a couple of ELD providers whose electronic logging devices are capable of also working as AOBRDs. In other words, you can buy their ELD solution, make it work like an AOBRD until December 2019, and then switch it to an ELD solution with just a couple of clicks or a software update.
For example, BigRoad is offering their AOBRD solution that users will be able to upgrade to an ELD solution with a software update.
On the other hand, KeepTruckin is selling a fully compliant ELD solution that fleets can use as AOBRDs until December 2019 — with additional options and flexibility.
Fleet managers can choose the exact options and level of flexibility they need (such as reclassification of driving time, reassignment of driving time, unidentified driving time, etc.). Whenever fleets want to start using ELDs, they will only have to turn those settings off.
For more details on the flexible options that KeepTruckin ELD solution provides as an AOBRD solution, read the following post.
Further reading: ELD or AOBRD — KeepTruckin Lets You Choose
Such hybrid options are getting more and more popular among fleets, as they won’t have to invest in a different device to enjoy these added options.
We highly recommend buying an ELD solution. More importantly, however, we suggest not to invest in an AOBRD solution, because it is going to get obsolete very soon.
If you want the additional flexibility until December 2019, buy flexible devices like the KeepTruckin ELD and use it as an AOBRD. Then, whenever you are ready, you can just deactivate the AOBRD settings and continue using the device as a 100% FMCSA-compliant electronic logging device.