AOBRD vs. ELD: What's the Difference?

An automatic on-boarding recording device is a piece of hardware that connects to the vehicle's engine to record driver's hours-of-service (HOS). It functions  like an electronic logging device (ELD) except it records and displays less data. Similar to AOBRD, an ELD is a piece of hardware that connects to the vehicle's ECM to accurately record the driver's HOS.

However, AOBRD vs. ELD differs regarding how much data they record and how much you can edit. 

The chart below summarizes the FMCSA's comparison chart:

                AOBRD                   ELD
What is Recorded
  •   Date and Time
  •   Engine Hours
  •   Vehicle Miles
  •   Drive Times
  •   Locations
  •   Duty Status
  •  Date and Time
  •  Engine Hours
  •  Vehicle Miles
  •  Locations
  •  Information on the driver, motor carrier, vehicle, duty status, logging in and out, engine on and off, malfunctions
  •  Recorded during each change of duty status
  •  Can be entered manually
Automatically recorded when:

  • Change on duty status
  •  60 minutes interval while driving
  •  When the engine is off and on
  •  At the start and end of yard moves and personal conveyance
Edit History
  • Records who made an edit and when
  • Does not readily display edit history
  •  Records who made an edit and when
  •   All edits require annotation
  •  Automatically recorded events cannot be changed – only annotated
  •  Readily displays edit history to DOT inspectors
Driving Time
  • Can only be edited when attributed to the wrong driver
  •  Cannot be edited

ELDs Are More Restrictive Than AOBRDs

In fact, the rules surrounding ELDs are specific on how the device must handle particular events and situations. ELDs automatically switch the driver's duty status to "On-Duty, Not driving, whenever their vehicle has stopped moving for five consecutive minutes, and the driver has not responded to the prompt within 60 seconds. In contrast, AOBRDs are not changing the driver's duty status when the vehicle is no longer in motion.

In addition, ELDs have to warn drivers about any unassigned driving time and miles that the device records when they log into the ELD. Electronic logging devices accounts for all vehicle miles (even if a mechanic takes the vehicle for a test drive) to ensure driver logs are accurate, which means ELDs are far more restrictive than AOBRDs.

FMCSA will allow the use of AOBRDs until December 16, 2019, on the condition that the truck had AOBRD since before the mandate; that is, before December 18, 2017. Any additions to the fleet after December 18, 2017, require ELD and not AOBRD.