Filling out logbooks is not a task commercial truck drivers enjoy doing, but it is the law. They are required to do so by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which has enacted rules and regulations governing various aspects of a commercial truck driver’s life. One of these rules governs the amount of time a driver can operate a commercial motor vehicle without rest. These regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver can operate a vehicle in order to prevent motor vehicle accidents caused by driver fatigue. Drivers are required to record their duty status on logbooks to ensure they do not exceed the maximum number of allowable driving hours, and to be sure they receive sufficient rest before they begin driving again.
Other requirements which are in place for commercial truck drivers include rules for obtaining a commercial driver’s license, maintenance of large trucks, and testing of commercial drivers for drug and alcohol abuse. The rules and regulations are in place to help protect the traveling public. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations allows for civil remedies for the enforcement of the rules and regulations.
In addition to FMCSA’s inspection program, the Office of Inspector General Special Agents investigate allegations that companies and individuals have violated criminal statutes relative to the Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Commercial truck drivers and companies must comply with FMCSA’s new Hours of Service rules by July 1, 2013. The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit. However, it reduces by 12 hours per week the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work. The new HOS rule limits a driver’s work week to 70 hours.
In addition to this, truck drivers can’t drive after working eight consecutive hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break whenever they choose to do so.
The rule further requires truck driver who maximize their weekly work hours to take at least two night’s rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most – from 1:00 am. To 5:00 a.m. The rest requirement is part of the rule’s “34-hour restart” provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 24 consecutive hours off-duty. The final rule allows drivers to use the restart provision only once during a seven-day period.
Maximum penalties are in place for trucking companies and drivers. Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by 3 or hour hours could be fined $11,000 per offense. Truck drivers could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.
Log books provide a record of how the driver’s time has been spent. Drivers must account for how their time was spent for 24 hours each day. These books should be kept up to date.
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
Before you begin driving write down the starting odometer. When you finish driving write down the ending odometer. Write the list of activities you did that day and the time you spend doing each activity in the time grid. This would also include your shift start and stop times.
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 such as the Bill of Lading number or Manifest Number.
From: This is the origination point of the load.
To: This is the destination point for the load.
The following are examples of log book violations which cost the perpetrators fines, probation or jail time:
On June 7, 2012 in U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina, a trucking company and its owner were sentenced. The trucking company was sentenced to five years of probation and fined $8,000 and its owner was sentenced to one year of probation and fined 2,000. Each pleaded guilty for the falsification of driver’s records for the purpose of concealing the number of hours driven by drivers as required by law.
On May 7, 2012 a driver was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Philadelphia, PA. for his role in a false logbook scheme that resulted in a fatal truck crash in Philadelphia. He was responsible for a crash that killed one person and injured several others. He admitted to falsifying his logbooks to conceal the fact that he drove in excess of the allowable driving hours without the required amount of rest. He pled guilty to one count of vehicular homicide and other charges. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, 36 months supervised release and imposed $2,500 in fines.
Keep your logbook clean, complete and accurate at all times. You should never falsify logbooks. Check all entries to ensure accuracy.stated was true and correct. A truck driver’s signature/certification on a log book which certifies to the correctness of all entries containing the driver’s duty status record with his/her legal name or name of record is treated as an oath. This is the same oath that a driver would take in a deposition or in a court of law. Don’t risk civil or criminal penalties which could result from deliberate falsification of log books.