FreightWaves Ratings cuts through the noise of freight technology product reviews to make you a smarter buyer

What’s the Difference Between an AOBRD and an ELD?

An automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD) and an electronic logging device (ELD) are both pieces of hardware that can be connected to a truck’s engine to record the driver’s hours of service, or HOS. Both devices provided more accurate and reliable records than previous paper logs.

It’s important to understand the difference between the two devices, particularly because AOBRDs are no longer compliant as of December 16, 2019. Continue reading to learn more.

What is an AOBRD?

An AOBRD is basically an earlier version of the ELDs drivers use today. Just like an ELD, an AORBD is plugged into the vehicle’s engine control module port to enable the device to automatically record HOS data. Although AOBRDs were grandfathered in until December 16, 2019, since then the new ELD mandate has been enforced and all trucks are required to have an ELD to meet U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration compliance. 

What is an ELD?

ELDs are now an integral part of commercial trucking services. The technology provides a quick and efficient way of automatically capturing data. This solution also provides drivers and fleet managers with accurate real-time records they are required by law to maintain. An ELD automatically records the following information:

  • Identification of vehicle and motor carrier
  • Date, time and geographical location
  • Distance traveled
  • Engine startup and shut down
  • Yard moves
  • Engine diagnostics
  • Driver authentication, duty changes and personal use

What’s the difference between the two?

The reason that AOBRDs are no longer in commercial use is that they do not record or provide as much detailed information as ELDs. This is because they were basic systems. ELD technology is much more advanced and able to capture a much wider range of data. ELDs differ from AOBRDs in the following ways:

  • ELDs can track engine activity, when the truck is moving, how long the driver has been in transit, and the number of miles the driver has traveled according to odometer readings.
  • ELDs can transfer the driver’s logs to enforcement officials.
  • ELDs provide the driver’s geolocation, driver distance, and status over 5 mph.
  • ELDs provide data related to driver duty service changes.
  • Carriers control driver’s permission for yard moves.
  • The driver must record any unidentified driving trips.
  • Fleet managers can access all data remotely in real-time.
  • ELDs are compliant and registered with the FMCSA.
  • ELDs eliminated the necessity of dealing with large amounts of paperwork.

Bottom line on AOBRD vs. ELD 

Fleet managers and drivers should not still be using AOBRDs. They should have switched to ELDs prior to the late December 2019 deadline to maintain compliance with FMCSA.

ELD logging of HOS has another major benefit other than conveniently recording and transmitting data. It also helps to eliminate driver harassment and coercion by fleet managers, brokers or shippers, who may have previously tried to encourage drivers to follow driving schedules that were in violation of safety regulations. There is a wide range of ELDs on the market to suit each fleet manager’s needs and price range.