Photo: Pedigree Technologies
The electronic logging device mandate kicks in Dec. 18.

Time's up! Tips for the AOBRD-to-ELD transition

Dec. 16, 2019
What you need to know (and do) to stay on the right side of the regulations

Starting Tuesday, Dec. 17, only electronic logging devices (ELDs) that are registered with the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can be used for records of driver duty status. Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRD) will no longer be allowed. 

“Unlike paper and electronic logs, the differences between compliant ELDs and other onboard recorders aren’t necessarily apparent,” said Doug Schrier, vice president of product and innovation at Transflo, a provider of ELDs and mobile business-management technology to the transportation industry. “As the deadline for full ELD compliance nears, it’s important to make sure you’re using a device that meets all the requirements.”

Transflo offers the following tips to help fleets and drivers comply with ELD-related inspections at the roadside:

Check the FMCSA’s list of registered ELDs. The FMCSA does not endorse specific ELDs. However, the agency maintains a list of self-certified and registered devices here: Search and make sure your ELD is on it, including the device name, model number, and important details like data transfer methods, where to download the user manual, and the ELD supplier’s certifying statement. 

Don’t expect soft enforcement. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance confirmed that there will be no period of “soft enforcement” after Dec. 16, when the two-year grace period to transition from AOBRDs to ELDs ends. Expect officers to look closely at whether your logging device complies with federal requirements for ELDs.

If you’re a last-minute ELD shopper, look for more than hardware. For the thousands of truckers who have not yet upgraded to ELDs from AOBRDs, technical support and training are more important than ever. “Choose an ELD vendor that will make sure your installation and telematics connections are working properly, and has resources to help you train drivers and other personnel,” Schrier said. “There are dozens of ELDs on the FMCSA’s list of registered devices and they all have to produce the same basic set of data. The difference among vendors is in service, support, and your ability to use that data to run your business.”

Make sure that your drivers are ready at the roadside. Prepare your drivers for added scrutiny at the roadside. Remind them that by rule, an ELD must be designed so that a safety official can read the display without having to enter the vehicle. If the ELD uses a mobile device, the driver doesn’t have to hand it to the inspector; he can handle it on the inspector’s behalf as long as the display is visible. 

Drivers should also have access to paper logs as a backup to their ELD, and know where to find clear instructions about how to enter, retrieve, and transfer data.These tips can help drivers and carriers successfully make it through the ELD portion of any roadside inspection.

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