One Thing You Need to Do if You're Using Grandfathered AOBRDs

How will you prove those automatic onboard recording devices are really grandfathered under the ELD mandate? A safety consultant and former enforcement official has this advice.

April 2018, - How-To

by Deborah Lockridge, Editor-in-Chief - Also by this author

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe
Still using AOBRDs under the ELD mandate's grandfather clause? File photo: Schneider
Still using AOBRDs under the ELD mandate's grandfather clause? File photo: Schneider

If you’re using automatic onboard recording devices to track driver hours of service under the grandfather clause of the electronic logging device mandate, there’s something very important you need to do by mid-June, says a former commercial vehicle enforcement official who’s now a transportation consultant.

AOBRDs are allowed to be used instead of ELDs under a grandfather clause up until December 2019 – if fleets were using them before the 2017 ELD deadline of Dec. 17. And the latest guidance allows a motor carrier that installed and required its drivers to use an AOBRD before Dec. 18, 2017 to install and use a new ELD-capable device that runs compliant AOBRD software until the December 2019 full compliance deadline.

But consultant John Seidl, who works with Integrated Risk Solutions, notes that driver logs are only required to be kept for six months. How will a trucking company be able to prove that it was requiring its drivers to use AOBRDs prior to the 2017 ELD compliance deadline, once we’re more than six months past that December 2017 date?

That’s why Seidl is recommending that every trucking company using AOBRDs under the ELD grandfather clause print a driver’s log for every truck they operated in December prior to the deadline and put those in a file called “AOBRD evidence.”

“If you don’t do that by June, how are you going to prove to an investigator that you installed and used them?” Seidl asks. “If you don’t, you’re going to have to depend on the vendor.”

More AOBRD Confusion

With the recent guidance allowing grandfathered fleets to add new ELD-capable devices running AOBRD software, Seidl says, there’s some confusion about just how many drivers must have been using AOBRDs before the December 2017 compliance date to take advantage of this loosening of the grandfather provision.

This recent FMCSA ELD FAQ puts it this way:

May a motor carrier that installed and required its drivers to use an AOBRD before Dec. 18, 2017, install and use a new ELD-capable device that runs compliant AOBRD software after that date?

Yes, until Dec. 16, 2019.

Proof at Roadside, for Data Q Challenges

Each truck with a grandfathered AOBRD that was in use before December 2017 should have a copy of that prior-to-the-deadline log on board to use to show roadside inspectors that it’s a grandfathered device and thus not subject to ELD specifications, such as data transfer.

These printed logs also can be used as evidence for DataQ challenges for citations where enforcement officials are trying to claim that AOBRDs must meet ELD rules. And this confusion is very common, Seidl says.

“There are many inspectors that are writing AOBRD devices up for ELD-related violations, thus prompting me to do a bazillion Data Qs,” he says.

One example? Data transfer. An AOBRD is not required to be able to transfer data to enforcement officials at roadside like ELDs are. “It doesn’t have the programming embedded in it, nor was it required to so; it is impossible to make an AOBRD transfer a data file…. You can’t make an AOBRD transfer a file that doesn’t exist.”

Seidl contends that if you don’t retain this kind of evidence that you were using AOBRDs prior to the December 2017 ELD deadline and thus are grandfathered, “you could have an issue during a compliance review until June 2020.”

Wait a minute, you say – doesn’t the grandfather period end in December 2019? Seidl points out that the investigator can pull logs from the previous six months. “So, if I’m an inspector and I grab November 2019 logs, and I want to say [you weren’t running the required] ELDs, you have to prove [the AOBRDs] were installed prior to December of 2017,” he explains.



  1. 1. JStephens [ April 03, 2018 @ 04:52AM ]

    Just thinking out loud, wouldn't your AOBRD billing be sufficient proof of when you began using and AOBRD?

  2. 2. Glenn Meyers [ April 03, 2018 @ 07:00AM ]

    I have received one of these violations -
    395.24D ELD can not transfer ELD records Electronically....
    I have AOBRD for last 2 years.
    2 questions
    1- what documentation do I need to send with my Data Q to get this removed.
    2-What do I educate my drivers with to tell the officer when asked to transfer the data, what proof does my driver need?

  3. 3. Steve [ April 03, 2018 @ 03:20PM ]

    The entire trucking industry and every driver is supposed to know this, but yet the inspectors enforcing the law obviously don't according to Glenn's previous post. The first words out of the inspectors mouth should be do you have ELD or AOBRD?

  4. 4. John [ April 07, 2018 @ 09:29AM ]

    This issue is caused by a roadside inspector thinking he/she is a compliance review officer. A roadside inspector has no business asking for proof of your aobrd implementation date, nor is the driver required by any regulation to produce such information. The production of any such proof can be easily obtained by billing records or executed contracts. It would be wise to retain (at your company location) said documents. Otherwise, as the consultant stated, "You will have to rely on your vendor." None of these recommended "retention" documents should ever be requested for, at, or during an inspection. These problems are created by roadside inspectors on fishing expeditions in waters that they are prohibited from entering. Some state agencies need to focus on roadside inspection parameters to prevent an avalanche in the Data Q department!


Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 2000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.


ELDs and Telematics

sponsored by
sponsor logo

Scott Sutarik from Geotab will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Sleeper Cab Power

Steve Carlson from Xantrex will answer your questions and challenges

View All