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 With active enforcement of the ELD mandate in effect across the U.S., it is critical that drivers understand what is expected of them in a roadside inspection, suppliers explained in a recent Heavy Duty Trucking magazine webinar, presented by Omnitracs. “There are some challenges [at roadside],” said Tom Cuthbertson, Omnitracs’ vice president of Regulatory Compliance. “Make sure that the driver communicates if they’re on an AOBRD or an ELD. They have to make sure that enforcement understands that, because some devices are registered as ELD-certified, but you can still run as AOBRD-based with the [ELD rule’s] grandfather clause.” He recommended that fleets make sure their drivers have the correct cab card—which is required – and that they present theirs to enforcement officers. “And don’t forget,” he adds, “that even though you have an ELD or AOBRD in your vehicle, you’re still required to have sufficient pages to create a [paper] log book for the previous seven days. We’ve seen quite a bit of confusion on the roadside [since enforcement began] about whether an AOBRD or an ELD is in there. So, that’s why we wanted to bring this up and remind you to make sure your drivers are communicating effectively at roadside.” Annette Sandberg, CEO of TransSafe Consulting and a former administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, pointed out that fleets invoking the two-year grandfather clause have to start that clock back on Dec. 18, 2017 when the ELD mandate actually took effect; that is they should not start counting the extension for full compliance when full enforcement began in April of this year. “Since we have had full enforcement in place and even during that soft enforcement period, we did see a number of very significant challenges in 2018,” said Sandberg. “The first is that it’s been very apparent that there has been inadequate training of drivers. So, it’s important that motor carriers appropriately train their drivers so that the drivers know … what system they’re on, whether it’s an AOBRD or an ELD, and that the driver be able to articulate that. The confusion over AOBRD vs. ELD has gone like this, said Sandberg: “The driver presents an AOBRD but the enforcement person demands an ELD file from that AOBRD. That’s not possible. So, there are quite a few challenges there.” Other enforcement issues noted by Sandberg include both FMCSA and state investigators “continuing to struggle to understand what data is available during a compliance review and how to retrieve it. This is going to be a learning process, probably for the next year, as carriers switch from either AOBRD systems to ELD, or just have an ELD system, on what can be made available during a compliance review.
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