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What Is a Truck Driver’s Log Book and How It Can Help Your Case

July 5, 2021 Truck Accidents Blog

A truck driver’s log book gives a detailed account of their activities prior to an accident and, in many cases, has incomplete information or evidence of violations. A violation can indicate that a trucker’s actions or inactions may have contributed to the accident, which can help you prove liability. 

What Information is in a Truck Driver’s Log Book?

A logbook monitors a truck driver’s hours spent driving, on-duty but not driving, off duty, and in the sleeper berth over a 24-hour period. Other information typically included is: 

  • The date
  • Name of the carrier
  • The truck number
  • The total number of miles driven in a 24-hour period
  • The starting time of the 24-hour period
  • Origin point
  • Destination
  • Names of all co-drivers
  • The shipping manifest that specifies the carrier and commodity being transported

Truck drivers are required to keep a written log book while on every trip, under regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). 

How the Log Book Can Help Your Truck Accident Case

Information from a log book may be able to help you prove a truck driver violated the federal hours of service regulations. These rules dictate how many hours a truck driver is allowed to work without taking a break, as well as their duties to inspect their vehicles. A log book may contain helpful information that indicates a violation, such as: 

  • Violating Hours of Service (HOS) Rules: truck drivers are limited in the number of hours they can legally work without taking a break. If the log book fails to show that a driver took a required break, it can mean the trucker was too tired to drive safely and, therefore, caused the accident. 
  • Miles Covered: a violation of HOS rules may also be discovered in the total miles a truck driver traveled in a 24-hour period. The number of miles can be checked against the log book to show that the driver didn’t actually take the required breaks even though they claimed to do so.
  •  Off-Time Duty: the amount of time the trucker claimed to be off duty in their log book can also help establish a HOS violation.
  • Inspection Reports: truck drivers are required to perform daily inspections of their vehicles. They must note in the log book when they are completed, as well as any malfunctions and repairs that are needed. This type of information from a driver’s log book after an accident may prove that the truck was driven when it wasn’t safe to do so. 

The Daily and Weekly HOS Regulations

The following limitations on HOS are in place by the FMCSA:

Daily HOS Regulations

  • Long-haul truckers must take a minimum of a 30-minute break per 8 hours driven
  • 11-hour driving limit must come after a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
  • A minimum of 14 hours on duty is allowed, and it must come after a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off-duty.

Weekly HOS Regulations

  • The maximum number of allowable service hours per week is 70.
  • After 70 HOS, the driver must take 34 hours off-duty to restart the period
  • 34 hour rest period must include at least two intervals between 1:00 am and 5:00 am.
  • 34 hour rest period to restart may only be used once per week or once per 168 hours.

Speak to an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

To obtain a truck driver’s log book following an accident, you need the help of a highly skilled San Diego Truck Accident Lawyer. The driver or the trucking company may alter or destroy the log book to avoid liability. Contact us as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation so we can get started on preserving evidence for your case today.