5 Steps for a Smooth AOBRD Phaseout

Fleets using AOBRDs must switch to ELDs this year. Minimize the interruption.

Mark Schedler - DOT Sr. Editor - J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

February 15 , 2019

Based on your experiences moving from paper to electronic logs, you may not be particularly excited to take on yet another transition. However, the majority of electronic logging devices in use are only automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD)-compliant, meaning a significant percentage of carriers have yet to fully comply with the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. Based on those odds, you need to verify your fleet is using a compliant ELD well before the final mandate deadline of December 16, 2019.

Luckily, you can minimize the pain of another transition by starting early and leaving plenty of time to verify compliance and potentially switch devices, if necessary. Giving yourself this extra time will minimize stress and the potential for driver turnover. Use the following recommended steps to ease the impact and help drive a successful transition.

Plan an Orderly Transition

Account for the time it will take to conduct hands-on and classroom/remote training, adapt to hardware differences, and potentially learn a new system. Drivers whose carriers did not provide adequate training during the initial December 2017 transition to electronic logs generally experienced longer roadside inspections, a much higher level of frustration, and received avoidable citations. Don’t let your fleet suffer the same fate. 

Verify Proven ELD Compliance

Your provider should have established ELD compliance and be listed on the ELD Registry. Ask if the ELD update can be done “over-the-air” or if you are going to have to purchase new devices. If new hardware is required, you’ll need to consider the estimated cost and installation timeline, as well as confirm if ELD unit availability aligns with your transition date. You’ll also want to ensure your chosen provider offers 24/7 driver support and dedicated customer care. If you determine you want to make a switch, don’t wait too long, or you may be stuck with a vendor that doesn’t have the “bugs” worked out, which is especially frustrating during roadside inspections. For assistance verifying your device and determining the next steps for your operation, request a FREE ELD Compliance Check at JJKeller.com/Verify.

Test ELDs for Compliant Data Transfers

Make sure your device can easily connect to the electronic control modules (ECMs) on all vehicles. An ELD may pair up and read data differently depending on the model year of the truck. Even if a provider’s device is listed on the ELD registry, it is up to the carrier to ensure it is compliant with mandate requirements.

Conduct a Phased Implementation

 A transition can prove more challenging in a fleet with complexities like multiple terminals, business units, or operation types. For example, in an operation where drivers share the same truck, there could be a mixture of short-haul exempt drivers not required to log and regular grid-logging drivers who do not qualify for the short-haul exception. Approaching the transition in phases and addressing feedback from smaller groups of drivers is easier to act on and resolve without affecting the entire fleet.

Evaluate the Change

Whether you have five trucks or 5,000 trucks, you need to actively manage the transition from AOBRDs to ELDs, or from your current ELD system to a new ELD system and leave time to evaluate the change after implementation.


In conclusion, companies that delay planning and preparation phases are going to find the transition very difficult to complete by the deadline, not to mention, put the quality of their transition in jeopardy. When it comes to completing a successful transition, a proactive approach is your most powerful asset.


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