New ELD Mandate Requires All Truckers to Keep Electronic Data Books

New ELD Mandate Requires All Truckers to Keep Electronic Data Books

The age-old days of keeping hours, driving records and miles, and pickups and deliveries on a paper workbook are over. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) has been cracking down on drivers to ensure that new automated practices are put in place to regulate the work and driving hours of all truckers. After all, automation has been on the rise due to recent trends in the transportation industry.

Since 2015, heavy discussion has been surrounding the idea of implementing ELD’s, or Electronic Logging Devices in all trucks made after the year 2000. However, the rule was finally passed by the FMCSA in December of 2017. Since December, all truckers are required to have ELD’s installed in their trucks to monitor and report their driving hours and overall workday hours (including stopping at docks, loading, unloading, etc.) Here’s a glimpse at the rules surrounding new ELD mandate:

Rules of the New ELD Mandate

Essentially, the new ELD mandate was passed to keep truckers safe on the road. The FMCSA doesn’t want truckers working overtime and not being paid for it, and wants to keep drivers away from falling asleep behind the wheel.

Since December 2017, the new ELD mandate states that drivers can only work for 11 hours per day, and only 8 of those 11 hours can be spent driving. So a trucker may put in a maximum of 8 driving hours with an extra 3 hours being spent loading/unloading/etc. (or whatever balance they would prefer so long as they do not exceed 8 driving hours.)

Many truckers had installed AOBRD’s (Automatic Onboard Recording Devices) on their trucks to keep track of hours, loading and unloading, and other data. However, the majority of these “grandfathered” AOBRD’s do not meet the new ELD mandate requirements. Before moving on, let’s talk through a couple of definitions.


There are a variety of terms used to describe the tracking devices used on trucks, and the requirements for each have changed drastically since the new ELD mandate. Here are a few definitions that refer to truck operations tracking devices:


An AOBRD, or Automatic Onboard Recording Device, is a data logging device that displays the hours of service (HOS) of a driver. The device attaches to a truck’s engine and records the hours the engine has been used each day. An AOBRD is similar to an ELD, although it records less data than an ELD. Here are the data elements an AOBRD records:

  • Date and Time
  • Engine Hours
  • Vehicle Miles
  • Drive Times
  • Duty Status
  • Locations
    • Recorded during each change of duty status
    • Can be entered manually

The major difference between an AOBRD and an ELD is in regards to how much data they record, and how much data can be tampered with.


An ELD, or Electronic Logging Device, is similar to an AOBRD but records more information. Here is a list of data that an ELD will record and report. Note that ELD’s are more extensive in the data they report, and changes/edits to data are tracked more closely.

  • Date and Time
  • Engine Hours
  • Vehicle Miles
  • Drive Times
  • Locations – Automatically recorded when:
    • Change in duty status
    • 60 minute intervals while driving
    • When the engine is turned on and off
    • At the start and end of yard moves and personal conveyance
  • Accuracy of Location:
    • Within 1-mile while “On-Duty Driving”
    • Within 10 miles while in personal conveyance
  • Identify information on driver or user, motor carrier, and vehicle including: duty status, logging in and out, engine on and off, and malfunctions

As you can see, ELD’s are incredibly more detailed in their data reports and recordings thus making them favorable by the FMCSA.

Can Edits Be Made to ELD’s or AOBRD’s?

The main difference between ELD’s and AOBRD’s lies in the amount of data they record, as well as how much data may be tampered with/edited/adjusted after-the-fact. Here are some primary differences with how data can be edited on either device type:


The following information relates to edits which can be made and are recorded by an AOBRD

  • Records who made an edit and when
  • Does not readily display edit history
  • Driving time can only be edited when attributed to the wrong driver

ELD Edits

The following information relates to edits which can be made and are recorded by an ELD

  • Records who made an edit and when
  • Readily displays edit history to DOT inspectors
  • All edits require an annotation
  • Automatically recorded events cannot be changed – only annotated
  • Driving time cannot be edited or changed at all

Penalties for Non-Compliance to New ELD Mandate

Many truckers are ignoring the necessity of the new ELD mandate by continuing business as always. However, while the penalties are low in the interim period, the FMCSA and law enforcement will be cracking down hard on non-compliers with the new ELD mandate. Cops are now allowed to pull over semi-trucks to check their logging devices and ensure compliance with the new laws.

The first and most important thing to note is that AOBRD’s are no longer sufficient to comply with FMCSA law. The devices are considered “grandfathered”, as the new requirements issued by the FMCSA surpass the capabilities of AOBRD’s. Thus, all truckers must update their AOBRD’s to ELD’s immediately.

Although the new ELD mandate was passed on December 18th, 2017, we are all currently in a “grace period” of about 4 months. During this period, drivers who are caught in violation of the mandate may be penalized with warnings and small fees/tickets. But many drivers and trucking companies don’t know what is coming around the corner. After April of 2018, the FMCSA and law enforcement are allowed to revoke driver’s trucking and transportation licenses for violation of the new ELD mandate, and violators can be nailed with hefty penalties.


If your company is using “grandfathered” AOBRD’s, or has not been using any logging devices, you are grave danger of losing your trucking licenses and being hit with heavy fines. Although penalties are not serious for the next couple of months, waiting any longer to install up-to-date ELD’s is a bad idea. It is in the best interest of every trucker and trucking company to read up on the new ELD mandate issued by the FMCSA and install ELD’s that record and report all necessary data according to the mandate.

If you have any questions about the new mandate, whether or not you are in violation of it, or want to learn more about differences between AOBRD’s and ELD’s, give us a call at Interlog USA and we would be happy to help you out!


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