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5 Differences Between Grandfathered AOBRDs and ELDs

By Kathy Close - Transportation Editor, J.J. Keller & Associates
Posted Jun 26th 2019 1:11PM

Motor carriers operating grandfathered automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) to record their drivers’ hours of service must switch to an approved electronic logging device (ELD) by Dec. 16, 2019.

With little time remaining, carriers that want to minimize stress should plan to make the change sooner rather than later. Training on the operational differences between AOBRDs and ELDs is a critical component of the plan to help reduce the frustrations that your drivers and operations department may experience on the first few days of your ELD launch.

Some of the more significant differences include:

1. Log-in Procedures 

When a driver logs into an ELD, he or she is prompted to accept or reject unassigned driving time on the device. Any accepted time is integrated into the driver’s records. Rejected time must be addressed by the back office by either assigning it to a specific driver or explaining through an attached comment why it could not be assigned.

AOBRDs, on the other hand, do not require annotation of the unassigned driving time when it cannot be attributed to a specific driver. The time could be attributed, instead, to a ghost account, which is not allowed with an ELD.

2. Driving Status

AOBRDs allow the motor carrier to determine when an event is defined as driving (based on speed and distance traveled). But ELDs are more stringent and programmed to switch to the driving status when the vehicle reaches up to 5 mph unless the driver selects one of two categories: personal use or yard moves.

Typically, when using these two categories while operating an AOBRD, drivers must log out of the device and then edit the time as on-duty, not driving.

Fewer data entry errors equate to fewer roadside inspection violations, minimizing the effect on your company’s safety record.

3. Editing Options

Unlike AOBRDs, an ELD system provides drivers with full editing rights, except for the automatic recording of all drive time. All other entries must be editable by the driver. Also, any edits made in the back office must be approved by the driver before becoming a part of his or her record.

Editing topics to reinforce with drivers include:

  • Acceptable/unacceptable edits,
  • How to make edits, and
  • How to accept or reject back-office edits.

4. Data Transfer

During a roadside inspection, ELD log data is transferred directly to the officer. Drivers are expected to know the device’s transfer method (telematic or local transfer) and how to use the options within the method. The officer has the option of asking the driver to display or print the logs.

With AOBRDs, the driver is only required to show the officer the display. If the officer wants a copy of the records, the driver or carrier has up to 48 hours to provide them through any means.

In the event of a DOT audit, back-office personnel must be trained on this same ELD data transfer method. An investigator will expect a carrier to forward the ELD records using one of the transfer methods.

5. Generic Accounts

ELD systems do not allow for the use of generic or “ghost” accounts. Each account must have an actual person assigned to it, except for the unassigned driving time account. Driver accounts must include the driver’s license number to validate the driver. This means that carriers need to develop procedures for dealing with movements made by drivers without ELD accounts, sich as mechanics or supervisors.

Create A Comfort Level Beforehand

Employees should be introduced to the equipment and its features before the day of conversion. This familiarity with your ELD will help reduce the number of entry errors. Fewer errors equate to fewer roadside inspection violations, minimizing the effect on your company’s safety record.

About the Author
Kathy Close is a transportation editor at J.J. Keller & Associates. Her areas of expertise include transportation security, DOT drug and alcohol testing, and driver qualification. For more information e-mail [email protected]


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