Are AOBRD devices still compliant?

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What are AOBRD devices?

An AOBRD, or Automatic On-Board Recording Device, is an electronic device that records a driver’s Hours of Service as laid out in the U.S. Hours of Service of Drivers regulations Section § 395.15 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

What’s the difference between an AOBRD and ELD?

There are a number of important technical differences between AOBRDs and ELDs, specifically, the features and functions.

How ELDs differ from AOBRDs:

  • Internal synchronization is more clearly defined.
  • Requires recording of location information of the commercial motor vehicle each duty status change, plus every 60 minutes while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Graph grid of driver’s duty status changes is required (display or printout).
  • Must provide warning of unassigned driving time/miles when driver logs in.
  • Default to on-duty not driving status when the vehicle has stopped for five consecutive minutes and no driver response to ELD prompt.
  • Synchronization to Universal Coordinated Time (UTC).
  • Enhanced resistance to tampering.

AOBRD, EOBR & ELD definitions

You may see a few different terms used in relation to keeping records of duty status (RODs), including AOBRD, EOBR and ELD. Here is a quick definition of each term and the related regulations.

AOBRDAutomatic On-Board Recording DeviceIn 1988, with the arrival of new technology for recording a truck driver’s duty status, the Automatic On-Board Recording (AOBRD) Rule was published to set out standards for use.
EOBRElectronic On-Board RecorderThe FMCSA expanded regulations in 2010 with a rule on Electronic On-Board Recorders for Hours of Service. Interstate commercial truck and bus companies with a history of serious HOS violations would be required to use EOBRs. However, after a court challenge, the FMCSA vacated the EOBR rule.
ELDElectronic Logging DeviceIn 2015, the ELD Final Rule was published setting out the technical requirements for electronic logging devices. The rule provided a two stage compliance timeline for carriers and drivers to transition from paper logs, logging software, and AOBRDs over to ELDs.

Can carriers still use AOBRDs?

Many fleets are asking: Is there a grace period for ELDs? Yes, but the gap is closing fast. The phased-in compliance period is coming to an end on December 16, 2019.

In Phase 2 of the ELD timeline, carriers that had installed AOBRDs were grandfathered in and allowed to use their devices.

During this time, to be considered compliant, grandfathered AOBRDs must:

  • be installed by the motor carrier and rolled out before the ELD compliance deadline of December 18, 2017
  • meet the requirements of U.S. Hours of Service regulations, section 395.15

However, all this changes as of December 2019. Once the Full Compliance Phase begins, motor carriers and drivers subject to the ELD rule will need to use self-certified, registered ELDs.

Can a carrier purchase and install a new AOBRD device?

The FMCSA provided guidance for this situation in this article from their FAQs section. The FMCSA allows carriers to move AOBRDs previously installed before December 16, 2017 and updated over-the-air to other vehicles.

Further clarity is provided in the FMCSA’s answer: “However, you may not purchase and install a new AOBRD in a vehicle after December 18, 2017.”

Again, keep in mind that as of December 16, carriers can only use ELDs going forward.  

Can a company switch to a new AOBRD provider?

This is a popular misconception. Carriers cannot switch to a new AOBRD provider. Even if a carrier’s current AOBRD system has been grandfathered in, that carrier cannot replace it with a new AOBRD provider’s system.

Bill Quade, FMCSA Associate Administrator for Enforcement stated in an email communication to Geotab:

“FMCSA has a Frequently Asked Question that allows a motor carrier that was using AOBRDs before December 18, 2017 to add devices that are ELD-capable, but running AOBRD software during the ELD/AOBRD transition period. This FAQ was drafted to allow carriers with established AOBRD programs to be able to add vehicles to their existing logging systems without having to run part of the fleet on AOBRD software and part on ELD software. A carrier that changes vendors entirely no longer has a legacy AOBRD system that needs to be accommodated so they do not qualify to install non-ELD devices after the December 18, 2017 date.”

The answer to this FAQ will only be applicable until December 16, 2019 where all carriers will need an ELD.

Are all ELD providers equal?

Many ELD vendors are still running AOBRD platforms and don’t plan on switching fleets over to ELD until Q4 of 2019, when required. This raises the concern that some vendors may not transition effectively to the new, more complex and thorough requirements for ELD devices. Before bringing any solution to market, time is required for proper testing, resolving any issues, and improvement. When it comes to electronic logging and roadside transfer especially, your business needs a reliable solution.

Early on, Geotab made the decision to only provide an ELD solution as of December 18, 2017, and did not offer an AOBRD solution. We spent more than 18 months focused on ELD and building a robust system. Geotab works closely with FMCSA and regularly connects with customers to continually gather feedback and enhance the ease of use of the system. Early adopters have had more than a year and a half running Geotab’s Cloud ELD solution, and are well versed and operating smoothly in their everyday life and during roadside inspections.

We encourage other fleets to take a critical look at vendor qualifications like years in business, ranking and security, when picking their ELD solution.  

Get more tips on picking the best ELD provider in this post.

ELDs only after December 16, 2019

The use of grandfathered AOBRDs is limited and coming to an end. The Full Compliance Phase of the ELD rule begins on December 16, 2019. After this date, drivers and motor carriers are must use self-certified ELDs. AOBRDs, logging software and paper logs will all be phased out at this point. For a full explanation on ELD self-certification, see this post.

ELDs have ushered in a new data-driven era in trucking. With new capabilities in vehicle tracking and integration, carriers can expect benefits in compliance, efficiency, and improved customer satisfaction and driver safety.

ELD Implementation Checklist

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With the ELD Mandate deadline around the corner, it is critical that companies review and strengthen their Hours of Service (HOS) compliance program to support the move from paper logs to electronic logging devices (ELDs) or from AOBRD to ELD.

Key Steps of an ELD Implementation:

  1. Review and update company Hours of Service policies and procedures.
  2. Conduct ELD training for management, drivers, and affected staff.
  3. Carry out regular auditing and provide ongoing support.

1. Review and Update Hours of Service Policies and Procedures

The first step to implementation is to update your Hours of Service policy and procedures to include the use of ELDs. Clearly stating roles and responsibilities will help ensure that drivers and employees follow required procedures.

Examples of items you may want to include in your company’s policies and procedures:

  • How management will monitor and track logs.
  • How to prevent dispatchers from assigning a load to drivers without hours available to complete the load on time.
  • A statement prohibiting drivers from driving in violation when they are out of hours under any circumstances.
  • Disciplinary measures and corrective action for violations to ensure drivers comply with regulations and policies.

Assigning Responsibilities

Creating a policy that assigns specific tasks and responsibilities to the appropriate personnel will help ensure that procedures are carried out as required.

ELD compliance is a team effort, so responsibilities should be assigned to personnel across the organization, not just drivers. It’s especially important to define and document the roles and responsibilities of managers and supervisors for monitoring compliance with HOS policies.

Consider the following types of personnel when updating your policy:

  • Executive Managers
  • Health & Safety and/or Risk Management Personnel
  • Administrators
  • Supervisors
  • Drivers

Remember that designing a robust policy is only the first part. In order to be effective, policies must be properly communicated and made available to personnel.


2. Conduct ELD Training

Training is imperative during the transition period to ELDs to ensure a successful implementation. Each company should convey expectations to all applicable staff for adhering to HOS regulations and company policies and procedures.

Schedule training far enough in advance of the ELD deadline so that drivers and managers have time to learn and become comfortable with the new system.

training session with truck driver and supervisor

Depending on the size of your team, it might be more effective to carry out separate training sessions for managers, administrative personnel, supervisors and drivers, with information that is customized to their group. It’s natural that questions may arise, so build flexibility into the training sessions to allow time to address any concerns. That type of feedback can be very useful in refining policy and procedures or developing future training.

The following items should be considered as part of the training program:

  • ELD regulations and benefits.
  • How to operate an ELD and properly complete a log.
  • How to track and edit the Hours of Service of drivers.
  • How to schedule routes that can be completed within Hours of Service regulations.
  • Common practices that may lead to violations.
  • How to handle ELD data retention.
  • Preventing driver harassment and coercion.
  • Troubleshooting.

Initial training should be followed up with regular and ongoing training sessions to keep HOS policies and procedures top-of-mind and ensure compliance.

3. Auditing and Ongoing Support

As drivers move from paper logs to ELDs, the way they think about their logs needs to change. Now is the time to increase the frequency of your internal audits to ensure your logs are being correctly completed and your process is working correctly. Your company should implement an effective process for monitoring, tracking, and evaluating the compliance of all drivers with HOS regulations and company policies.

It is the company’s responsibility to promptly review all Records of Duty Status for Hours of Service violations.

Areas of action for auditors:

  • Review driver compliance with their ruleset.
  • Review the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) logs.
  • Ensure that drivers are verifying and signing off on their logs daily.
  • Identify trips that were made with no drivers assigned, find the driver who made the trip, and assign that driver to the trip.

Reinforcing Policy with Driver Coaching

How are you are going to handle violations or mistakes in the driver’s log? Policy and procedures should be established to address these issues. A good procedure can lead to great opportunities for coaching your drivers.

Some companies design and implement incentives and recognition programs in order to reward and encourage effective performance related to compliance with HOS regulations and company policy — for example, bonuses or gift certificates.

Driver Coaching Tips:

  • Let the driver know specifically what his violation is and how it was discovered.
  • Train the driver on how to comply with the violated regulation.
  • Instruct drivers on the consequences of continual violations.
  • Reinforce training about HOS policies, procedures, and responsibilities.

Investing in Success

Setting aside time for careful planning and policy management is always a good investment. Creating a comprehensive set of policies and procedures for Hours of Service and ELDs will help your company make a smooth transition to electronic logging devices. By putting time and effort into building a strong compliance program, you are ultimately investing in the success of your drivers and maximizing the value you will get out of your ELD solution.


Top 4 Criteria for Evaluating ELD Providers

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From a technological standpoint, the changing of telematics hardware and software is often one of the most painful pills to swallow for the fleet. Significant investment was made in the procurement of the device, installation of the device, maintenance of the device, and internal education of the system. Making the jump from one telematics provider to another requires the fleet to remove the old devices, install new devices, and retrain their staff on the new system.

While no telematics company can eliminate all of the pain of switching telematics providers, it’s important that your new vendor works to reduce this pain. Today, telematics companies receive data from devices that they have sold to the end user. Some of these devices are proprietary and specific only to the telematic provider who sold them. Other devices are off-the-shelf style devices that are capable of sending data to sources other than then the initial telematics provider.

1. Third-Party Device Integration Speeds Up the Transition Process

Ask providers about third-party device integration, which is the ability to pull telematics data from a third-party device into their telematics ecosystem. In short, this means that customers will in many instances be able to use their existing telematic hardware as they transition to a new system. Third-party integration allows the telematics provider is able to gather key data points from many different hardware platforms.

Examples of data gathered from telematics and third-party device integration:

  • Latitude
  • Longitude
  • Speed
  • Date and time
  • Ignition status (on/off)
  • Auxiliary relay status for up to 8 relays
  • Engine/Diagnostic data
  • Device data

Even more data:

  • Low battery
  • Tow detection
  • Starter tamper
  • Power tamper
  • Battery voltage
  • Temperature
  • GSM signal strength
  • Loaded voltage
  • Battery level
  • Successful uploads
  • Failed uploads
  • GPS fix attempts
  • GPS on time
  • Trip count

With this feature, fleets have the ability to transition their fleet immediately to the new providers system without making a large capital expenditure. Over time, as the fleet’s current devices fail or new vehicles are acquired, the fleet has the ability to move over to updated hardware from their new provider.

From a software standpoint, your internal staff will be able to transition to a single software interface immediately and not have to utilize two different systems. Fleets will also have immediate access to the new telematics recording capabilities to manage their fleets in ways that previously weren’t available.

switching telematics eld providers business handshake

2. Third-Party Software Partners

The ability to share your data with third-party vendors is critical for the majority of fleets in the marketplace today. It could be a remote diagnostic system, a TMS provider, maintenance system, IFTA reporting system, or anyone of the various categories.

Many providers in the marketplace simply don’t have integrations completed or they keep their customers using in-house software packages. Regardless of your current platform, it’s critical that your new platform has the integrations you need to run your business.

Many telematics companies are moving towards an app-based approach where customers are able to easily view what companies are integrated and additional information on the vendor. Many believe that this is the best type of approach where a customer has the option to utilize the telematics providers own software system or the ability to utilize a third-party vendor to accomplish their goals.

Your new partner should have a robust partner network that benefits everyone: the telematics provider, their distributors if applicable, their partners, and the end customer.

3. Access to the Data

For many fleets, their current provider prevents them from accessing their data via APIs or charges them a substantial amount to do so. To avoid these issues with your future provider, it’s important to determine the flow of data and you as the customer’s access.

Expandability matters. One of the first questions you should ask is to receive a copy of their Software Developer Kit (SDK). The SDK explains how your able to pull the raw data out of your telematics system to be utilized in other third party systems. Even if you’re not currently using a third party system today, it’s important to have that option open in the future as your business continues to evolve.

4. Security

One of the most important questions that many fleets fail to ask is the question around security. How does your potential provider handle cybersecurity from a hardware standpoint, transmission of the data, and the data stored at the server level? The simplest request for any customer is to ask the telematics provider for a copy of their security documentation for review.

As technology continues to change at a breathtaking pace, asking the hard questions today can save you significant grief in the future.


Mobilizz Inc. Announces Agreement with BeWhere Holdings Inc.

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TORONTO, ONT, MAY 25, 2016 – BeWhere Holdings Inc. (TSX. BEW.V), announces that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Mobilizz Inc., a company located in Toronto Ontario with customers throughout North America and has placed an initial order for 2,000 BeWhere Beacons to support an initial implementation with an electrical distribution and transmission utility in Western Canada.

We are excited to be partnering with Mobilizz,” said Owen Moore, CEO of BeWhere Holdings Inc., “Mobilizz is an established provider of Geotab hardware and software solutions and has had years of experience working with utility and sub-contractor fleets. This experience gives them a deep understanding of the industry and its unique challenges. Our solutions will enable their customers to gain a much better understanding of asset location and the conditions that it currently and historically has been subjected to. Rather than relying on anecdotal information, we will provide a real time snapshot that drives correct decision making “.

“The fast and efficient delivery enabled by real-time data access is now essential in order to meet consumers’ expectations.” said Wayne Candy, President of Mobilizz. “By combining our expertise with Geotab in the utility sector with BeWhere’s Bluetooth beacons, we will generate efficiencies through time savings, better utilization and known asset allocation.”

About Mobilizz Inc.

Mobilizz is a Telematics and fleet consulting company, operating since 2002. Powered by Geotab, their hardware and software solutions are the most reliable, scalable, secure and expandable GPS fleet management tools available today.

About BeWhere Inc.

BeWhere is an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions company that designs and manufactures hardware with sensors and software applications to track real-time information on movable assets. The company develops mobile applications, middle-ware and cloud based solutions that stand-alone or that can be readily integrated with existing software. Its solutions enable end-users a level of operational visibility that is more easily accessible and significantly easier to implement than in the past.