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FAQ Get answers to ELD-related questions

FMCSA provides answers to frequently asked questions about ELDs. Consult these FAQs when you have an ELD-related question, as the answer may already be at your fingertips.

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The inspector will cite the driver for failing to have the proper record of duty status, and will place the driver out of service (OOS) for 10 hours (8 hours for a passenger carrier), in accordance with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) North American Standard Out-of-Service (OOS) Criteria. At the end of the OOS period, the driver is allowed to complete the current trip to its final destination using paper logs. If the driver is stopped again prior to the final destination, the driver must provide the safety official a copy of the inspection report and evidence (e.g., bill of lading) proving he/she is continuing the original trip. After reaching the final destination, if the driver is dispatched without obtaining a compliant ELD, he/she will again be subject to the OOS procedures. However, a driver may return with an empty CMV to his/her principal place of business or home terminal, as indicated on the roadside inspection report. Violations count against the carrier's Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores.

Last Updated : May 04, 2018

A "grandfathered" AOBRD is a device that a motor carrier installed and required its drivers to use before the electronic logging device (ELD) rule compliance date of December 18, 2017. The device must meet the requirements of 49 CFR 395.15. A motor carrier may continue to use grandfathered AOBRDs no later than December 16, 2019. After that, the motor carrier and its drivers must use ELDs. See § 395.15 (a) of the ELD final rule.

Last Updated : March 22, 2017

Motor carriers and drivers subject to the ELD rule must start using ELDs by the compliance date of December 18, 2017, unless they are using a grandfathered Automatic On-board Recording Device (AOBRD).

Last Updated : March 22, 2017

During the period when both "grandfathered" AOBRDs and ELDs will be used (December 18, 2017 to December 16, 2019), authorized safety officials will enforce ELD rule requirements for ELDs and the requirements in 49 CFR 395.15 for "grandfathered" AOBRDs. The supporting document requirements for drivers and motor carriers using either device will take effect on the ELD rule compliance date of December 18, 2017.

Last Updated : March 22, 2017

If your operation uses AOBRDs before December 18, 2017, and you *replace vehicles in your fleet you can install an AOBRD that was used in the previous CMV. However, you may not purchase and install a new AOBRD in a vehicle after December 18, 2017.

Last Updated : July 12, 2017

"Paper RODS" means RODS that are not kept on an ELD or automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD), but that are either recorded manually (in accordance with 49 CFR 395.8(f)) or on a computer not synchronized with the vehicle or that is otherwise not qualified to be an ELD or AOBRD. Printouts of RODS from ELDs are the reports that ELDs must be able to generate upon request from an authorized safety official, per section 4.8.1 of the ELD rule.

Last Updated : March 28, 2017

The table below compares the technical specifications in the AOBRD rule (49 CFR 395.15) and the ELD rule.

Feature/Function 1988 AOBRD Rule ELD Rule
Integral Synchronization Integral synchronization required, but term not defined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Integral synchronization interfacing with the CMV engine electronic control module (ECM), to automatically capture engine power status, vehicle motion status, miles driven, engine hours. (CMVs older than model year 2000 exempted.)
Recording Location Information of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Required at each change of duty status. Manual or automated. Requires automated entry at each change of duty status, at 60-minute intervals while CMV is in motion, at engine-on and engine- off instances, and at beginning and end of personal use and yard moves.
Graph Grid Display Not required – "time and sequence of duty status changes." An ELD must be able to present a graph grid of driver's daily duty status changes either on a display or on a printout.
Hours of Service (HOS) Driver Advisory Messages Not addressed. HOS limits notification is not required. "Unassigned driving time/miles" warning must be provided upon login.
Device "Default" Duty Status Not addressed. On-duty not driving status, when CMV has not been in-motion for five consecutive minutes, and driver has not responded to an ELD prompt within one minute. No other non-driver-initiated status change is allowed.
Clock Time Drift Not addressed. ELD time must be synchronized to Universal Coordinated Time (UTC); absolute deviation must not exceed 10 minutes at any time.
Communications MethodsNot addressed – focused on interface between AOBRD support systems and printers. Two Options:
"Telematics": As a minimum, the ELD must transfer data via both wireless Web services and wireless e-mail.
"Local Transfer": As a minimum, the ELD must transfer data via both USB 2.0 and Bluetooth.
Both types of ELDs must be capable of displaying a standardized ELD data set to authorized safety officials via display or printout.
Resistance to Tampering AOBRD and support systems must be tamperproof, to the maximum extent practical. An ELD must not permit alteration or erasure of the original information collected concerning the driver's ELD records or alteration of the source data streams used to provide that information. ELD must support data integrity check functions.
Identification of Sensor Failures and Edited DataAOBRD must identify sensor failures and edited data. An ELD must have the capability to monitor its compliance (engine connectivity, timing, positioning, etc.) for detectable malfunctions and data inconsistencies. An ELD must record these occurrences.

Last Updated : April 21, 2017

A key difference between devices with logging software programs and AOBRDs relates to connectivity with the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operations. An AOBRD must be integrally synchronized with the specific operations of the CMV on which it is installed. AOBRDs must also record engine use, speed, miles driven, and date and time of day, as specified in 49 CFR 395.2. AOBRDs automatically record engine data for driving time versus the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) data or a driver inputting his or her driving status hours.

The display and output from devices using logging software must meet the requirements in 49 CFR 395.8. Drivers can manually enter their hours-of-service (HOS) information using the application or software program on the device, and then manually or electronically sign the RODS at the end of each 24-hour period to certify that all required entries are true and correct. During a roadside inspection, drivers using logging software programs can hand their device to the safety official to review their RODS. Additionally, officers conducting inspections can request a printed copy of the driver's log with the current and prior seven days HOS information.

Last Updated : April 21, 2017

No. To be grandfathered, an AOBRD must be installed in a CMV prior to December 18, 2017. If a grandfathered AOBRD subsequently becomes inoperable, then that AOBRD must be replaced by an ELD.

Last Updated : July 12, 2017

Yes, an owner-operator that operates with a grandfathered AORBD and is hired by a motor carrier after December 18, 2017, he or she may continue to operate with its grandfathered AOBRD while employed by the motor carrier.

Last Updated : November 02, 2017

Yes, if an AOBRD is under warranty and becomes inoperable after December 18, 2017, then that AOBRD can be replaced with another AOBRD within the terms of the manufacturer's warranty. Motor carriers should note that 49 CFR Part 379 Appendix A requires the motor carrier to maintain records pertaining to replacement of equipment. If the AOBRD is not under warranty and becomes inoperable after December 18, 2017, then that AOBRD must be replaced with an ELD.

Last Updated : December 12, 2017

If an AOBRD malfunction prevents the accurate recording of the driver's hours of service, the driver should take the following steps.

  1. Note the AOBRD malfunction;
  2. Reconstruct the record of duty status (RODS) for the current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days, and record them on graph-grid paper or electronic logs that comply with 49 CFR 395.8 (unless the driver already has the records or retrieves them from the AOBRD); and
  3. Continue to prepare paper or electronic graph-grid RODS in accordance with 49 CFR 395.8.
  4. The driver should notify the motor carrier of the malfunction (in writing or electronically) within 24 hours. Paper or electronic grid-graph recording of hours of service should not continue for more than 8 days after the malfunction is discovered.

Last Updated : November 22, 2019

Yes, if the AOBRD malfunction prevents accurate hours-of-service recording. The motor carrier must submit a request to the FMCSA Division Administrator (DA) in the State of the motor carrier's principal place of business within 5 days of driver notification of malfunction.

Last Updated : May 04, 2018

Canada and Mexico-domiciled motor carriers subject to the electronic logging device (ELD) rule may operate in the U.S. with an AOBRD that meets the definition of an AOBRD in 49 CFR 395.15. An AOBRD may be used until December 16, 2019, so long as the AOBRD was installed and in use prior to December 17, 2017. A motor carrier domiciled in Canada or Mexico that does not use an AOBRD and is subject to the ELD Rule must use an ELD when operating in the U.S.

Last Updated : February 13, 2018