AOBRD vs ELD - What's The Difference?

Note: as of Dec. 16, 2019 AOBRD is no longer relevant. Fleets must use an ELD solution.

What is AOBRD?

AOBRD, or Automatic On-Board Recording Device is an earlier version of the modern ELD that connects to a vehicle’s engine to record a commercial driver’s Hours of Service (HOS).  Both solutions need to be plugged into the vehicle’s ECM port to automatically record HoS data but the main difference is that AOBRD’s record and display much less data compared to ELD’s and may not meet all the requirements specified in the ELD mandate

Are AOBRD's Allowed Under the ELD Mandate?

Yes. AOBRD’s have been grandfathered by the ELD mandate until December 2019. This means that fleets already using them can continue to do so until December 16th, 2019, at which point they will need to transition to ELD’s. 


What is the AOBRD grandfather clause & AOBRD rule exception?

The two-year period that we’re in now, Phase 3, focuses on ELD implementation but also allows an exception for AOBRDs that were installed prior to December 18, 2017. With the influx in vendors providing ELD solutions following the passing of the mandate, there’s been much more focus on ELD implementation vs AOBRDs and less information about where the difference lies.

What is the Difference Between AOBRD & ELD?

The primary difference between ELDs and AOBRDs, is that ELD devices track more information more accurately. For example, an ELD can identify information on a driver’s change in duty status, logging in and out, location information, and ECM data such as engine power status, vehicle motion, and system malfunctions.

Additionally, there are differences in edit history capabilities, where ELDs have a greater level of accuracy and HOS compliance. ELDs readily display log edit history—for review by DOT inspectors, for example— whereas AOBRDs do not. This is important when it comes to unassigned driving time.

Below is a table summing up the key difference between the two:

Unidentified DrivingRecords any unidentified driving and displays this data to the driver, fleet manager and DOT officer.Not defined
Auto-Switch to DrivingMust auto switch to driving at 5 mphNot defined
EditsAuto-generated events can not be edited. All edited entries are recorded and require annotation.Records edits, but does not readily display this
FMCSA Output FileReports to the FMCSA via web-services or emailNot defined
Are AOBRD's Allowed Under the ELD Mandate?

As stated above, Commercial vehicle drivers who use an AOBRD prior to the Dec. 18, 2017 deadline are granted a time extension but these drivers must have their AOBRD upgraded or replaced by a certified ELD by Dec. 16, 2019.

Why is now the time to transition to an ELD?

Beyond the implications for finding yourself in early 2020 in front of a DOT officer with a noncompliant system, there are very strong business-reasons to make the move to ELD sooner rather than later.

The strongest reason is that this is your chance to implement a fleet management solution, in case you don’t have one yet.

A fleet management solution such as the one we offer with features including driver behavior, engine diagnostics and live tracking, transforms data from your fleet into valuable information to help your company make and save money.

Don’t wait for the last minute to become compliant! We offer the highest-rated FMCSA and Canadian DOT compliant ELD devices & solutions. Our ELD solutions can be stand-alone ELD or a combined, total solution with fleet management including driver behavior, temperature monitoring and engine diagnostics. Take a look at our ELD product offerings below.

Get your ELD

Speak to a fleet technology specialist to put your business on the road to success.