What Is a Truck Driver’s Travel Log?

Posted on Friday, October 8th, 2021 at 5:34 pm    

If you were involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you could face difficulties while trying to prove fault and secure the compensation you need for your medical treatment and other expenses.

Accidents require thorough investigations and substantial evidence to show who should be held liable. Unfortunately, holding a truck driver or trucking company financially responsible for the losses you suffered can be a challenge. You need proof that their actions contributed to the collision. A vital piece of evidence could be the truck driver’s log.

Federal Regulations for Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets and enforces regulations for everyone in the trucking industry. That includes maximum driving limits and other necessary rules for truck drivers. The hours of service regulations aim to prevent driver fatigue and other issues that could lead to accidents.

These regulations include:

  • Cannot drive past the fourteenth consecutive on-duty hour following ten hours off duty
  • Maximum driving limit of eleven hours after spending ten consecutive hours off duty
  • A thirty-minute break after driving for eight cumulative hours without at least a thirty-minute interruption
  • The driving limit can be extended by up to two hours when encountering adverse conditions
  • At least seven consecutive hours spent in the sleeper berth and at least two hours off-duty whether or not in the sleeper birth, adding up to the ten required hours spent off duty

If a truck driver violates these regulations, they put other people in danger. Fatigue is a common problem in the trucking industry. Driving up to eleven hours in a single shift often interferes with a person’s mental and physical faculties. The trucker could lose control of their vehicle and crash into nearby motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists.

What Is a Logbook?

The logbook, also called a record of duty status, contains information regarding a truck driver’s shifts. Anyone that operates a commercial motor vehicle must follow the regulations set by the FMCSA when completing their record of duty status. Truck drivers should use a graph grid and enter information for every twenty-four-hour period.

Required information includes:

  • Month, day, and year at the beginning of the twenty hours
  • Name of the motor carrier and main office address
  • Time zone of the home terminal, even if the driver crosses time zones
  • Change of duty status with the city, town, or village and state abbreviation where it occurs
  • The truck number or license number and licensing state for the truck or tractor-trailer
  • The number of hours spent driving during the shift
  • Name of the co-driver
  • Number of hours spent in the sleeper birth, off-duty, and on breaks
  • Shipping document name or shipper name and the type of contents in the truck
  • Driver’s signature
  • Explanation of unusual log entries or circumstances, such as adverse driving conditions

Some exceptions apply to the truck driver log. Anyone traveling within a 100 air-mile radius of their work location doesn’t have to complete a record of duty status log. Additionally, drivers operating trucks that don’t require a commercial driver’s license and working within a 150 air-mile radius from their reporting work location don’t have to log their duty status.

Electronic Driver Logs

Most motor carriers are required to install electronic logging devices in their trucks. They synchronize with the engine and automatically record information, such as:

  • Identification of the driver or an authorized user, motor carrier, and vehicle
  • Duty status
  • Engine hours
  • Engine power status
  • Vehicle motion status
  • Number of miles driven

The logging device doesn’t record all necessary information required by the FMCSA. Truck drivers must manually enter additional data and certify the records.

If law enforcement or another official requests a copy of the log, the truck driver can electronically transfer the data. The file will flag safety violations for the official to review and determine if the truck driver failed to comply with federal regulations.

Using the Logbook as Evidence Following a Truck Accident

It’s critical to hire a lawyer immediately after a collision with a commercial truck. Your lawyer can investigate the incident and determine who was at fault. Requesting a copy of the manual record of duty status or electronic logging device could serve as helpful evidence during the case.

It will show if the truck driver didn’t take the required breaks or exceeded the maximum driving limit. This could indicate fatigue might have played a part in the crash.

Contact Us

If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, contact Caffee Law immediately. We can review the circumstances and determine whether the truck driver should be held liable for their actions. Violating a federal regulation is a serious offense, especially if it results in injuries or death.

Caffee Law will fight for the maximum compensation you deserve so you can recover and move forward with your life. You can depend on us to guide you through the complicated process and provide the support you need to get through this traumatic experience.

Call Caffee Law at (206) 312-0954 right now for your free consultation to discuss how we can help.

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The Caffee Law has years of experience handling all manner of injury cases. Our Seattle Injury attorneys care about you and want to help you through the overwhelming challenges that you face as a victim of another person's negligence. Our firm is available at (206) 312-0954.