The Number 1 Resource for Vocational Truck Fleets


ELD Mandate Transition: 4 Takeways So Far

When your fleet transitioned to electronic logging devices or automatic on-board recording devices, were you ready? J.J. Keller reports on the transition so far.

January 2018, - Feature

by HDT Staff

Is it an AOBRD or an ELD? Make sure your drivers know and have the right in-cab documents. Photo: J.J. Keller
Is it an AOBRD or an ELD? Make sure your drivers know and have the right in-cab documents. Photo: J.J. Keller

Since enforcement of the electronic logging device mandate started in mid-December, J.J. Keller reports that it is seeing problems with confusion whether a device is an ELD or a grandfathered automatic onboard recording device, as well as complaints about vendor support, and more drivers running out of hours due to delays.

J.J. Keller Senior Editor Mark Schedler reports that its compliance experts are seeing four recurring themes:

  1. Drivers are not sure if they have an AOBRD or ELD in the truck, and enforcement isn’t certain either, due to the variety of devices now in operation.
  2. ELD-related citations are being issued in several states for AOBRDs, even though drivers were compliant with Section 395.15, which is the AOBRD regulation.
  3. Carriers who chose vendors with insufficient levels of customer support are feeling the pain in the form of frustrated drivers and a potential loss of equipment productivity.
  4. Drivers are running out of hours due to delays at customers, traffic, and major accidents, and/or are not getting credited with a full break because of starting on-duty time just minutes too soon.

Schedler offers a closer look at each of these:

1. Know the requirements of the device in the truck

This may sound basic, but drivers must be certain of which device they are using (AOBRD or ELD), and understand the requirements for the respective device. If you or the vendor didn’t provide adequate instruction on the actual device in the vehicle, this can — and is — resulting in miscommunication with enforcement. 

2. Incorrect citations and data transfer failures

There are reports of drivers with AOBRDs being cited (but not fined) for ELD-related violations. The violations have been primarily for “failure to transfer data,” when, in fact, AOBRDs are not required to transfer data – they only must display or print the required hours-of-service information. If your driver was incorrectly cited, the citation should be contested via the DataQs process, even though there is no CSA point impact until April 1, 2018. A pattern of ELD-related violations will be looked upon unfavorably in court and by insurance companies, regardless of CSA point values.

There are also several reports of data transfer failures with purported “ELDs.” However, drivers were not cited and were permitted to use the device as an AOBRD if the display was compliant. The root causes of the data transfer problems were likely ELD-related versus FMCSA system-related. Different enforcement districts may choose to correctly cite for the failure of a purported ELD to transfer data.

Data transfer issues and any other ELD malfunctions must be repaired within eight days. You can file for an extension with the state FMCSA office within five days of the malfunction. If the vendor is unable to provide a compliant device, other actions to consider are reporting the vendor to the FMCSA and/or switching vendors.

3. Vendor support may be insufficient

Along with having a compliant device, customer support is one of the most important aspects of the vendor decision. Carriers are now experiencing the reality of their vendor’s customer support. There are 175 vendors and 278 models on the FMCSA ELD registry to choose from, and many do not have a strong track record in the AOBRD/ELD business. Blogs are filling up with unhappy stories of broken vendor promises and long waits for customer service responses.

Driver frustration with ELDs and AOBRDs can be reduced by a vendor with 24/7 support. If adequate time wasn’t devoted to training on data transfer procedures, edits, unassigned drive time, and other areas, a solid vendor can assist with this task. If things are bad enough, you might have to think about switching vendors.

4. Avoid and address potential hours issues

The hours-of-service regulations have not changed, yet there has been an increase in the reporting of drivers running out of hours before reaching a safe place to park. The burden is on the back office to consider drivers’ available hours and the expected hours for a trip, including potential delays at customers. Dispatching procedures must provide guidance on how to handle situations when there isn’t enough capacity to handle “priority” loads. Drivers cannot make the problem disappear.

Create, if you don’t already have, a safety procedure that addresses situations where a driver could be forced to leave a customer without enough hours to make it to a parking location. Personal conveyance or “off-duty driving” cannot currently be used as the back-up plan. If drivers run out of hours and must leave a location after failing to gain approval to park there, the electronic log must reflect the actual “on-duty driving” that occurred.

Instruct drivers to enter detailed annotations with the reason for any exceptions used or hours-of-service violations. Trends of violations are an audit concern, but an occasional well-documented instance of being over hours shows that you aren’t allowing continual unsafe practices.

The start date for full enforcement is fast approaching. Effective April 1, drivers will be placed out of service and Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) points will be assessed for ELD-related violations.


  1. 1. Victor Gabris [ January 12, 2018 @ 03:56AM ]

    The frustration with the ELD is going to continue for the drivers if the HOS are not addressed and new HOS regs implemented to allow for a safe operation with the new ELD required expectations. This is my 3rd week with my ELD and I continue having issues plus I have taken a loss in pay due to spending more unproductive time on the road. There needs to be major changes in the HOS

  2. 2. Scott [ January 12, 2018 @ 06:51AM ]

    BS on these improving safety, now instead of driving 57 to 60 all the time 2 lane or interstate its now 60 on the 2 lane an 65 an 75 on the interstate.
    Had trouble with kellers eld from the start, couldn't move 20 feet an it kicked into drive after days of phone calls finally got someone who fixed that problem.
    Found out I didn't have brake lites for 2 days an cruise wouldn't kick off when applying brakes, unpluged eld an wal la lites came back on

  3. 3. Delmer Polak [ January 12, 2018 @ 07:09AM ]

    We've used Omnitrac AOBRDs for several years and have experienced all of it. But all of these examples, issues, problems etc. could have been reported for years by HDT and other publications; they were not. Irresponsible at best.

  4. 4. Rich [ January 13, 2018 @ 11:17AM ]

    The ONLY solution to this communist garbage is Drive till you are out of hours and STOP the truck right now wherever you are, go home and Quit this stinking business.
    I have said for years if ALL the drivers would shut it down, let this once great country go to hell then maybe we could get our way.
    But this business has been taken over by goody two shoes and crybabies that have zero cajones to cause a massive problem to get what we deserve.

  5. 5. Steve [ January 20, 2018 @ 08:39PM ]

    I hear you ---- > SCOTT < ----- Trimble ELD throwing massive ECM & ABS faults across our fleet

  6. 6. Quentin [ January 23, 2018 @ 12:48PM ]

    I support an ELD solution for customers at a truck dealership. I have seen a lot of issues from various drivers in various industries and situations.. The biggest issue is the automatic move to Driving status. If a vehicle reaches 5mph, the status is automatically switched. It is not automatically switched from Driving status for any reason. I was told by the manufacturer that this was a DOT mandate to automatically shift to Driving status. It is very challenging especially for those drivers that are not familiar with much technology beyond a flip phone. I have been to their pickup sites, their terminals, taken calls on weekends; anything I can do to alleviate their frustration. It is embarrassing at best to have spent so much time being a professional driver to now need to seek help from a tech weenie like myself to do a basic job requirement.


Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Todd Ewing from Verizon Connect will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Sponsored by

Personal use in the fleet industry refers to the personal use of vehicles by an organization’s employees.

Read more