What is the ELD/AOBRD Mandate? In the field of fleet tracking, electronic logging devices (ELDs) and automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) have long been used to automatically record electronic records of truck usage, driver activity, gas mileage, driving routes, stop locations, and other information. These devices have been subject to the AOBRD rule since 1988, and they are now subject to the ELD rule as part of a 2012 congressional bill.
1988, the AOBRD rule was introduced to govern the use of onboard recording devices for the first time. This initial mandate required devices to have integral synchronization and to record the location of commercial vehicles at each change of duty status. The term “integral synchronization” was not officially defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations at the time, however, and the recording of information was allowed to be either automatic or manual.
With the passing of the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill (MAP-21), the newest ELD mandate was developed and finally published in 2015. As of December 2017, companies were expected to meet the first compliance deadline.
The 2015 ELD mandate focuses primarily on replacing manual paper logbooks in an effort to bring fleet tracking into the 21st century and improve data accuracy. Requiring electronic logging of information should help provide good data for business analysis, as well as prevent individuals and companies from manually recording false information in order to avoid recompense.
Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the mandate requires companies to comply with the following:
- All Hours of Service (HOSs) must be electronically recorded via certified ELDs to ensure an accurate snapshot of hours worked. This was the first part of the mandate to be rolled out, and all companies were required to install appropriate ELDs for HOS recording by December 2017.
- All Records of Duty Status (RODSs) must now be electronically recorded via ELDs. This is a change from the 1988 AOBRD rule, in that companies are no longer allowed to manually record this data.
- Location information must also be automatically recorded every 60 minutes while the vehicle is in motion, whenever the engine is turned off or on, and whenever the vehicle is used for authorized personal reasons.
- Personal use of commercial vehicles is now defined as any time the reason is not directly work-related; this differs from past rules, in which it was only considered personal use if the vehicle was not loaded with goods and the trip was a relatively short distance.
- All ELD/AOBRD devices must be integrally synchronized with the vehicle’s engine so that important truck activity (e.g., engine power status, miles driven, engine hours, vehicle motion status, etc.) can be accurately recorded and measured. Engines manufactured before the year 2000 are exempted from this aspect of the mandate.
- All ELDs must be capable of producing a graph of a driver’s RODS changes either on-screen or via a printout.
- ELDs must provide an advisory warning of unassigned driving time or mileage when a driver logs in.
- ELDs must also record any incidents where a driver is on-duty, has not been driving for five consecutive minutes, and does not respond within one minute to device prompts. This allows business managers and other entities to identify when a driver was away, sleeping, or otherwise not performing his or her duties while on the clock.
- All ELDs must be set to observe Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) and must not be more than 10 minutes off from this time.
How These Changes Will Affect Fleet Tracking—Including Yours
As with any change in federal regulations, the new ELD mandate presents both challenges and opportunities to commercial businesses, truck drivers, and the fleet tracking industry at large. As things move forward in the next few years and companies are expected to comply with the rest of the mandate, there will likely be a great deal of effort, investment and adjustment required on the part of businesses and drivers. However, the benefits of moving to a standardized, fully automated digital record-keeping system could give the industry a major boost.
As your company is required to meet the standards of the new ELD mandate, it may affect your fleet and business in a number of ways:
- You may have to purchase and install new ELD technology that is capable of meeting all of the mandate’s requirements. Depending upon the size of your fleet, this could be a major investment.
- If you do not already use ELDs/AOBRDs for the required data, you will need to train all of your drivers and other appropriate staff on proper use and mandate compliance.
- Fully electronic records are more easily accessible for analysis, allowing your company to easily run reports, improve efficiency, and audit driver activity.
- Electronic records also reduce the need for physical storage, saving you space and money in the long run.
- More rules mean a heavier focus on compliance. You may need to run regular self-audits to ensure that your team is using the ELDs properly and that your company is in line with the federal mandate.
- Automated recording of data like engine status, miles driven, and non-responsive idling time allows you to keep an eye on driver behavior and identify employee misconduct.
- Electronic device reminders should help your drivers remember to assign Hours of Service and enter any requested manual information at appropriate times.
Ultimately, although the mandate requires an initial investment in technology and may lead to major process changes, the new ELD rule should help with fleet tracking by providing more accurate data on a regular basis.
The Importance of Choosing High-Quality Technology
Because the new ELD/AOBRD mandate relies so heavily upon the features and capabilities of the devices themselves, it is more important than ever for companies to choose high-quality fleet tracking devices that can provide all the necessary functionality in a reliable manner. If an ELD/AOBRD struggles to capture location information properly or has poor synchronization with the vehicle’s engine, its value as a recording device is essentially lost.
When seeking appropriate tracking technology for your fleet, look for devices that have been designed for fully automated function and live real-time tracking of the mandated information. Make sure that the devices are durable, easy for drivers to use, and easy to interface with via existing software or web-based applications.
Find Equipment That Meets the ELD/AOBRD Mandate at US Fleet Tracking
For years, US Fleet Tracking has been at the leading edge of ELD/AOBRD technology—that’s why we’re an ideal choice to help your company prepare for the ELD mandate. As the developer of one of the first truly live fleet tracking systems, we strive to provide the industry’s best technology at the most affordable ELD price. Need to have mandate-ready trucks ASAP? Try these US Fleet Tracking products:
- OBD-J9: An easy-install device that simply plugs into a vehicle’s OBD port for easy tracking and recording (wiring harness optional).
- ECM-Link ELD Interpreter: A Bluetooth device that connects to already-installed tracking technology and adds electronic logging device capability to your existing system.
Explore our other tracking devices online and learn more about how US Fleet Tracking is helping customers like you prepare for the upcoming ELD/AOBRD rule changes. Not sure exactly what you need to meet the ELD mandate? Call us at (405) 726-9900 or fill out our online form to discuss your options and find what you need to be compliant!