What is a Truck Driver’s Log Book?
A truck driver’s log book allows drivers to keep track of their operating hours and hours between operating to ensure they align with the safety standards mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
If you were in an accident with a truck, you could utilize their log book to determine whether or not they were within federal guidelines and if it helped them to be at fault for the accident.
What Information is in a Log Book?
There is quite a bit of information in a log book, most notably related to the hours of operation. The driver will log when they are operating, when they are on duty but not working (waiting for loads or waiting to unload), and the hours between operations. The starting time of a 24-hour period and total miles driven during 24 hours is also required.
Essential information included is their name, the date, time, truck number, and names of co-drivers, if applicable. Also included are the point of origin, the destination, and the shipping information or manifest that includes what the truck is carrying and the carrier they are employed by.
What is the FMCSA?
According to their website, the FMCSA’s “primary mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.” With that in mind, they have begun mandating service hours for operators to avoid fatigue and other unsafe driving practices that can easily lead to accidents.
These hours of service vary depending on the load, whether the driver is going interstate or intrastate, and more, but all drivers are held to a maximum hours standard, which is;
The 14-hour driving window limit, the 11-hour driving limit, and the 60-hour/7-day and 70-hour/8-day duty limits.
Though this can seem confusing, an example of a mandated limit is the 14-hour driving window states, “You are allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for ten or more consecutive hours.” This mandate forces drivers to rest adequately to avoid fatigue or shortened reaction times in regard to others on the roads, thereby reducing the number of accidents that occur.
What Other Violations May Be Evident in a Truck Driver’s Log Book?
When establishing fault after an accident, it is imperative to gather all facts present. With a truck driver’s logbook, you can get a current glimpse into whether or not the operator was adhering to regulations and operating safely, or if they were not. This information can be invaluable to a personal injury case.
In addition to the hours of service we discussed earlier, regulations about inspections, miles covered, and off-duty time can also help establish whether or not the driver was operating safely.
Inspections are required to ensure the truck is operational. If any repairs are necessary, these must be logged, as well as what was done to correct the repairs. Many drivers must also inspect the loads they are hauling to ensure they have been distributed correctly in their trailers.
Miles covered is essential because it can provide evidence of the driver speeding or incorrectly reporting their hours of service so they can get to their destination quicker. If it can be found that the miles covered greatly differ from what is reported, this may be a clear indication of unsafe practices and dishonesty with the logged hours.
Similar to the miles covered, drivers are required to report their off-duty time. This information may not align with the other information in the log book, and discrepancies can again provide valuable information regarding the operator’s ability to follow federal regulations.
Common Causes for Truck Driving Accidents
As you may have deduced from this article, fatigue due to too many hours is a leading cause of accidents. Drivers sometimes have quick turnarounds or short deadlines and may feel pressure to meet them, so they inappropriately log their hours and continue to drive even after fatigue.
Distracted driving is also a leading cause of accidents, as is a truck or trailer malfunction. The daily inspections that drivers must do is an attempt at reducing truck issues. Standard malfunctions are relative to brakes or tires and can quickly cause a devastating accident.
Speeding, improperly distributed load, and driving under the influence are common causes of accidents.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Assist You
A truck driver’s log book is imperative to review after an accident. This can help your attorney determine many essential facts from the scene. It is also important for the employer and owner of the truck driver’s company to get involved to ensure adequate training is completed, that licensing and other regulations are current, and more.
If you were injured and are in the middle of a personal injury case, we can confidently assist you. There are several pieces of evidence to help establish who was at fault and ensure compensation for your injuries. We have an experienced investigation team that will ask you the right questions and collect all the evidence. Truck insurance companies are some of the hardest to negotiate with. They have their lawyers, let us fight back for you.
Call our office today at (812) 247-8416 to learn more about how we can best assist you. Along with our experience and knowledge in helping our personal injury clients, we have an unmatched passion and dedication.