Differences between ELDs, AOBRDs, and EOBRs
Differences between ELDs, AOBRDs, and EOBRs

ELD, AOBRD and EOBR are some of the most common terms in the trucking industry. Ever since the ELD mandate was introduced by the FMCSA, people have been talking about ELDs, AOBRDs and EOBRs.

All these terms, especially ELDs and AOBRDs, are often used interchangeably. However, these acronyms are different and refer to different types of devices. More importantly, not all these devices guarantee compliance. Therefore, knowing the technical differences among them become all the more important for drivers, carriers, and fleet managers.

In this blog post, we define what each term means, what are the differences between ELDs, AOBRDs, and EOBRs, and what would fleets require to be 100% compliant with the latest FMCSA ELD mandate.

EOBR or Electronic On-Board Recorder

EOBR or Electronic On Board Recorder

Let’s first get EOBRs out of the way.

EOBR or Electronic On-Board Recorder was a common term in the early 2000s. In the FMCSA regulations, the term EOBR was often mentioned for referring to a device that stored electronic logging applications.

The important thing to note here is that the term EOBR does not officially exist now.

EOBR was used in a 2010 final rule that was later vacated. Additionally, EOBR was included in a 2011 proposal, which never became a permanent rule. So, officially, the term EOBR does not exist anymore.

AOBRDs or Automatic On-Board Recording Device

AOBRDs or Automatic On Board Recording Device

The term AOBRD, an acronym for Automatic On-Board Recording Device, first came into the regulations in 1988.

As per the regulatory definition, “Automatic on-board recording device means an electric, electronic, electromechanical, or mechanical device capable of recording driver’s duty status information accurately and automatically as required by § 395.15.
The device must be integrally synchronized with specific operations of the commercial motor vehicle in which it is installed. At a minimum, the device must record engine use, road speed, miles driven, the date, and time of day.”

AOBRDs are slightly different than ELDs. For instance, AOBRDs do not automatically record vehicle location. They also do not interface with the vehicle’s engine.

AOBRD, as a term, is still a part of the FMCSA’s regulations. Commercial motor vehicles that have AOBRDs will remain compliant with the ELD mandate until December 16, 2019. However, it is important to note that from December 18, 2017 to December 16, 2019, fleets won’t be able to use existing ABORDs in new trucks. They can only use existing ABORDs if a new truck replaces an older one. If that’s not the case, new vehicles will require ELDs, instead of AOBRDs, as per the rule.

ELDs or Electronic Logging Devices

ELDs or Electronic Logging Devices

ELDs or Electronic Logging Devices are all what matter the most now. This is the term that is now used and will be used going forward.

It is the newest official term created by the 2012 MAP-21 bill passed by Congress where they mandated that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) create new regulations for electronic logging devices (ELDs) and their use by drivers, fleets, and trucking companies.

As per FMCSA’s ELD mandate, eligible CMVs must have ELDs by December 18, 2017, to be compliant with the ELD mandate. Vehicles who already have AOBRDs can wait for another 2 years.

FMCSA’s Requirements for Compliance

FMCSA's Requirements for Compliance

After understanding what these different terms and acronyms mean, it’s time to look into FMCSA’s requirements for compliance with the ELD mandate. After all, you don’t want to install a device and then later find out that you are still not FMCSA compliant.

So here are a few things you need to understand regarding FMCSA’s requirements for compliance:

  • Trucking companies that are not using AOBRDs must install ELDs before December 18, 2017 to be compliant.
  • Trucking companies that are currently using AOBRDs have until December 16, 2019 to install ELDs in their commercial motor vehicles. This is known as the “grandfather” clause, which gives carriers two additional years to install ELDs. However, it is important to note that you will not be able to purchase and install a new AOBRD in a vehicle after December 18, 2017.
  • Not every ELD will help you with compliance, though. Only FMCSA-certified ELDs (which fulfill all the requirements of the regulations) will help with ELD compliance. So don’t forget to check FMCSA’s list of certified ELD manufacturers before making any final decision.

What’s Next?

So, technically, carriers can install AOBRDs now and get two more years for ELD installation. Financially, however, it does not make any sense to invest in a technology that we know is going to be obsolete within 24 months.

If you are not currently using AOBRDs in all your vehicles, you should purchase an ELD (electronic logging device) so you can stay compliant and continue your fleet’s operations.

Use our highly detailed ELD price comparison chart to find the most cost-effective ELD solution for your fleet.

In case you have any questions, either email us at support@eldmandatefact.com.

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