Back in December of 2017, the trucking industry switched to electronic logging devices. Those trucks with Automatic OnBoard Recording Devices (AOBRD) were grandfathered into the legislation and given an extension to install ELDs by the end of 2019.

In late June, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a reminder on Facebook that the deadline for AOBRD users to switch over to ELDs is December 16, 2019.


An AOBRD functions in much the same way as an electronic logging device. An AOBRD records dates and times, hours of usage, miles, and locations. On the surface, the two devices are the same. But when you dive deeper, ELDs record much more information and in greater detail than the standard AOBRD.

And ELD records identifying information about the driver, carrier, and vehicle. Additionally, ELDs are more accurate with location reporting and will track when the engine is turned on and off.

While drive times can be edited on an AOBRD, they cannot be edited with an ELD, and any edits made must have an annotation, as ELD records are regularly transmitted to DOT inspectors.

Finding the Right ELD for Your Truck

If you are switching from an AOBRD to an ELD, there are a few things you should know. First, the FMCSA does not certify ELDs. Manufacturers must self-certify their ELDs, and even then, not every ELD is approved by the FMCSA.

Second, the cheapest option isn’t always the best option. Inexpensive ELDs may experience frequent malfunctions, and the last thing a driver needs is to be placed out of service due to unplanned software or hardware malfunctions.

The FMCSA has created a list of approved ELDs that trucking companies and owner-operators can purchase to stay compliant after the December 16, 2019 deadline. To make things even easier, the FMCSA’s Facebook post stated, “If the device you are considering is not on the list, it’s not an ELD.”

Two years after the initial deadline, it looks like ELDs are here to stay, and the FMCSA is working hard to iron out any wrinkles in their legislation regarding livestock, produce, and time-sensitive shipments. If you are currently operating with an AOBRD, you have roughly five months to install an ELD to remain compliant with current federal legislation.