Fleet Tracking

Are AOBRD Devices Still Compliant in 2021

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Staying compliant with FMCSA regulations is an absolute necessity if you want your fleet to be successful. Breaking compliance can result in hefty fines and significant downtime that hurts your fleet’s bottom line. One of the FMCSA’s most essential regulations involves tracking driver time with an automatic on-board recording device, or an AOBRD. An AOBRD is an in-vehicle device that drivers use to keep logs of their hours to ensure they weren’t driving for too long. The regulation was designed to prevent drivers from becoming too tired on the road. 

When the US first introduced AOBRD regulations in 1988, there were not many restrictions on the type of AOBRD drivers could use. However, the 2012 ELD mandate tightened the requirements and only grandfathered in a few AOBRDs. ELDs (electronic logging devices) are widely used today, and most AOBRD providers have shifted to providing only ELDs. Are these the only type of compliant AOBRDs now in 2021? We will go over the federal requirements. 

What is the Difference Between AOBRDs and ELDs? 

The biggest difference between an AOBRD and an ELD is that an ELD records more data than an AOBRD. This is why the FMCSA has shifted to require ELDs instead of AOBRDs in all fleet vehicles. 

Both types of devices record the date and time, engine hours, vehicle miles, and locations. The ELD also records the driver’s identifying information and details on the motor carrier and vehicle, including duty status, log-ins, when the engine starts and stops, and malfunctions. Another benefit of the ELD is that it automatically records changes in duty status and updates at 60-minute intervals while driving. It also records engine starts and stops during yard moves and for personal conveyance. 

Both devices display edits, but only the ELD displays who made edits, requires edit annotations, and disallows the editing of automatically recorded events. Driving time cannot be edited on an ELD. 

Benefits of ELDs

Besides helping fleets stay in compliance with the FMCSA, there are many benefits to ELDs that fleets can enjoy that AOBRDs did not offer in the past. 

  • Location: ELDs track location and fleet tracking is a significant part of a fleet manager’s job. Without fleet tracking, dispatching and other everyday operations become a major hassle. 
  • Speed: With both real-time and historical data on drivers’ speed, fleets can determine how safely their drivers are traveling on the road. This helps managers target drivers for training and reward good drivers for their efforts. 
  • Vehicle Diagnostics: Staying on top of vehicles’ health ensures that they will last a long time, reducing the rate of replacement and repair and saving your fleet money. Tracking when a vehicle is having engine issues or needs maintenance is a key advantage of ELDs. 
  • Fuel Efficiency: Fuel is one of the most significant costs that fleets face. With fleet tracking, fleets can keep fuel costs down and save a substantial percentage of their spending. 
  • Risky Incidents: Naturally, any fleet wants to avoid accidents at all costs. ELDs can track unsafe driving behaviors so managers can take action if they are happening too frequently. 

Are Any AOBRDs Still Compliant? 

There is an ELD mandate exemption that applies to specific vehicles. Drivers of ELD exempt trucks must meet the following requirements: 

These drivers would still use some form of AOBRD to maintain their record of duty status (RODS), but that AOBRD would not need to be an ELD. 

The Price of Non-Compliance

Breaking compliance with the ELD mandate can result in hefty fines for your fleet. There are dozens of violations that can occur, and you can view a complete list on our blog post: What You Need to Know About ELD Violation Fines. Here are a few examples of fines that fleets may encounter for non-compliance:


Knowingly falsifying electronic log records


Reporting and recording fines

$10,450 per person

Commercial regulation fines


Fines for bus drivers, train operators, and passenger carriers


Hazardous material carriers

Not only is the monetary price hefty, but non-compliance will also raise your CSA score, hurting your reputation with partners and the community. Therefore, any fleet’s best bet is to ensure that they are doing their best to remain compliant at all times with the mandate.


If you ever need help staying compliant with the ELD mandate, Azuga is here to help. We offer fleet tracking, electronic logging, dash cams, other safety features, and more to ensure that your fleet stays safe and compliant whenever they’re on the road. Our technologies offer all the benefits listed in this article and so many more. Learn more about what we have to offer at Azuga