WASHINGTON – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has once again modified the electronic logging device mandate, this time to allow the use of automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) software on new vehicles for another 20 months.
AOBRDs are based on older technology than is used in ELDs, which are more precise in tracking driver hours of service.
When FMCSA approved the ELD mandate, effective December 18, 2017, it grandfathered in existing AOBRDs and said they could be transferred to replacement vehicles in a fleet. The mandate still required ELDs to be placed in any new vehicles that expanded the fleet size.
However, in a frequently asked question posting to its webpage last month, FMCSA said operators could continue using AOBRD software on any vehicle in their fleets, including new ones that expand the size of their fleets, through December 16, 2019, the date that all AOBRDs must be replaced by ELDs.
However, they must still install ELD-capable devices on those vehicles that run the AOBRD software.
FMCSA didn’t offer any explanation, only the following question and brief response:
Question: “May a motor carrier that installed and required its drivers to use an AOBRD before December 18, 2017, install and use a new ELD-capable device that runs compliant AOBRD software after that date?”
Answer: “Yes, until December 16, 2019.”
A few days later, during a webinar, Bill Mahorney, an FMCSA division chief, clarified that a fleet expansion must install ELDs, but that they can operate on the less-precise AOBRD software.
“That fleet may purchase and install ELDs that are running on AOBRD software until December 2019,” he said. “In other words, everything has to be ELD. It’s just something that would require a software push.”
Joseph DeLorenzo, director of FMCSA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement, said during a telephone news conference last month that the change would “allow them (operators) to make the transition quicker and keep their operations running smoother.”