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ELD Switch 101: Recording and transmitting data

09.27.2019 - 4:28 PM Comments: 0

Welcome to ELD Switch 101, a five-week series where we’ll cover a wide array of important topics concerning the mandatory switch from AOBRD to ELD

When it comes to what is recorded and transmitted on AOBRD and ELD systems, there is a stark difference that is likely to affect the way drivers and dispatchers work drastically. 

An AOBRD system offers more flexibility than an ELD system in terms of the amount of data that is collected, organized, and reported, as AOBRD regulations do not require or define many of the aspects that are included in ELD regulations.

These include crucial factors that can affect a driver’s hours of service such as default duty status, unassigned driving time, yard move, personal conveyance, and time edits, among others. ELD systems, on the other hand, require some action on each of the aforementioned operations. As noted here:

Because of this, drivers must be aware of how to manage their time when using an ELD system. If a carrier elects to allow their driver yard move and personal conveyance options, for example, drivers should know when to switch into either option when applicable so their hours of service are optimized.

In addition, drivers should also note how roadside inspections will change. While an AOBRD system requires an email or fax of documents for inspectors, ELD systems will have their own specific codes that will transfer necessary information instantaneously. The data will include over 42 parameters that are automatically cross-checked for any discrepancies. 

One of the factors that will also affect drivers the most will be the hours of the service editing process. With an AOBRD system, the editing process is pretty straight-forward: you can just make the changes you need with a very limited record of the change.

Let’s say you forgot to add your pre-trip inspection at the start of your on-duty time, all you would have to do is go back and get it changed—no harm, no foul. But with an ELD system, those edits will be recorded and tracked. 

Using the same situation as before, you can still edit that time on an ELD system, but not only would it be recorded, you also have to add a valid reason for the edit and note it on the record. 

Overall, ELDs are more efficient in terms of data collection, but they can also be an issue for drivers if intentionally misused or if drivers are not properly trained. With an ELD’s precise data tracking, if a driver is even 1 second over their hours of service, that is technically a violation and the driver could be subject to a citation. 

Drivers should also be aware of the different speed thresholds for automatic driving status between systems, which we covered here. It’ll be crucial to know, as ELD systems have a 5 mph start-up time that can ultimately disrupt common day-to-day activities for drivers. 

Nonetheless, the switch from AOBRD to ELD shouldn’t be all doom and gloom for drivers, as there are potential benefits for them. 

One benefit of switching to an ELD system is that its advanced technology allows for additional features. This includes an ELD’s ability to monitor crucial truck parameters such as battery voltage, engine coolant temperature, engine coolant level, engine oil temperature, transmission oil temperature, engine oil pressure, and more. Some systems, like UTECH’s GPSTab, will even show specific fault codes with brief descriptions of the issue.

If used correctly, these diagnostics can help drivers and companies avoid issues with their trucks, ultimately saving them money and time. 

In the end, the transition to using ELD systems will mean more preparation ahead of time for drivers and dispatchers alike, as they’ll have to create a plan that’s efficient for them. Whether it’s looking for parking, using personal conveyance, or stopping for a 10-hour break, a plan will be necessary ahead of time to avoid any violations. 

The ELD, by all accounts, is the more efficient device for recording and transmitting data, and its effectiveness may very well positively affect the industry over time. In addition, with the mandate deadline inching closer, companies from top to bottom are going to need to understand its differences with AOBRD. 

So what do you think? Do you feel like ELDs can be more efficient or do you prefer the AOBRD system? Let us know in the comments or on social media for a chance to win a $25 Starbucks gift card. The winner of the giveaway will be announced in our last article of the series on Oct. 11. 

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