Log Books Simplified For Commercial Truck Drivers

Commercial truck drivers are required to keep log books in their trucks at all times. Drivers have limits as to how many hours they can drive per day and per week. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the rules. Under current law drivers are permitted to work no more than 14 consecutive hours per day with 11 of those hours being allotted to actual driving time. This includes performing a pre-trip inspection, fueling, paperwork, loading, unloading, log book recording, etc. Drivers are subject to weekly limits as well. Current regulations prohibit driving after the driver has been on duty 60 hours in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days. Drivers may restart the 60 or 70 hour clock by taking a minimum of 34 consecutive hours off duty.

Log books provide a record of how the driver’s time has been spent. These books should be kept up to date. Basically, drivers must account how time was spent 24 hours each day.

1989 Freightliner conventional semi trucks (420)

The top right of the form should be filled out as follows:

1. The month, day and year
2. The name of your employer or carriers
3. Main office address
4. Home terminal address
5. Drivers signature and name of co-driver if any

The top left of the form should be filled out as follows:

1. Total miles driven today
2. Total mileage today
3. Truck and trailer numbers
4. Drivers signature and name of co-driver if any

Write the starting odometer before you begin driving and the ending odometer when your drive is finished. When you finish driving write the total miles driven that day. The time grid is where you list the activities you did that day and the amount of hours you spent doing each. Write your shift start times and your shift stop times in the appropriate section.

Line 1: Off duty time
Line 2: Time spent in sleeper birth
Line 3: Actual driving time
Line 4: On duty time (not driving)

The bottom of the form should contain any other comments about your shift. You can list the Bill of Lading number or Manifest Number. You should also include the name of the shipper and the type of commodity being shipped.

From: This is the origination point of the load.
To: This is the destination point for the load.

You are a professional driver. Your log book should reflect this. It should be clean, complete and accurate. The writing should be legible with clean neat lines. It should at all times be current. In order to be in DOT compliance, every single space needs to be filled in. DOT officers are impressed if they see your log book is clean and up to date and know you take your job seriously. Take the time to carefully calculate your number and double check the calculations. Remember that your log books needs to coincide with truck stop receipts, restaurant receipts, etc. Any inaccuracies in your calculations will raise a red flag to the officer so make an effort to be precise. There can be serious consequences for falsifing logbooks including fines, penalties and jail time.

Original article published Jan. 12, 2012 on Ezine.com