AOBRDs vs ELDs: What's the Difference?

An ELog is an ELog, right? Well, not really. It’s more like an ELog is an AOBRD or an ELD.

Tom Bray - J. J. Keller Industry Consultant

December 01 , 2017

An ELog is an ELog, right? Well, not really. It’s more like an ELog is an AOBRD or an ELD.

Sound confusing? You’re not alone. Over the years, many terms have emerged for electronic logging devices because of regulations and industry response.  Unfortunately, even some electronic logging device providers use the terms interchangeably, which makes the buying of electronic logs and complying with regulations painful and confusing.  To enlighten you on your journey, here is a short history and explanation of terms for your reference.

AOBRD (Automatic On-Board Recording Device) was placed into the regulations in 1988. The devices are defined in §395.2 and regulated by §395.15. Here is the regulatory definition:

“Automatic on-board recording device means an electric, electronic, electromechanical, or mechanical device capable of recording driver’s duty status information accurately and automatically as required by § 395.15. The device must be integrally synchronized with specific operations of the commercial motor vehicle in which it is installed. At a minimum, the device must record engine use, road speed, miles driven, the date, and time of day.”

ELD (Electronic Logging Device) is the latest acronym to be used and will be used going forward. An ELD meets the technical and user standards of last December’s Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents final rule. Once an ELD is certified to meet the required specifications by the provider, the device is listed in the Federal ELD Registry. After December 16, 2019, ELDs will be the only electric logging devices allowed.

EOBR (Electronic On-Board Recorder) was a term used in a 2010 final rule that was later vacated, and it was also included in a proposal in 2011. Since neither became a permanent rule, the term does not officially exist. If anyone wants to sell you an EOBR, walk the other way.

ELog, or electronic log, is a generic term without any regulatory teeth. The next question after hearing a provider say, “We have the ELog you need” is “What kind of ELog do you have?”

Download the helpful Understanding the ELD Final Rule whitepaper for the must-know details of the mandate.


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