What Is A Truck Driver’s Logbook And How It Can Help Your Case?

Large commercial trucks are the lifeblood of the Tennessee economy. These vehicles and their drivers provide goods and services throughout our state as well as the rest of the country. Truck drivers spend countless hours on the roadway, and this can, unfortunately, lead to monotony and fatigue.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a part of the US Department of Transportation, limits the amount of time that truck drivers can spend behind the wheel during the workday and the workweek.

In order to enforce this requirement, the FMCSA requires drivers to maintain logbooks to track their hours. Here, we want to discuss these logbooks more in-depth, the hours of service requirements for drivers, and how this can help an injury case.

What are the hours of service requirements for truckers?

In order to combat fatigue driving well operating a commercial truck, the FMCSA has established what they see as a reasonable amount of hours that drivers can operate each workday and during the workweek.

These hours of service requirements include the following:

  • Truck drivers can operate during a 14-hour driving window after being off duty for ten consecutive hours. During this 14-hour window, the driver is allowed 11 total driving hours. The other time must be split between breaks for meals, naps, and the restroom.
  • Any driver who has been operating a truck for more than 8 consecutive hours is required to take a 30-minute break.
  • Drivers can operate for 60 hours in a seven-day workweek or 70 hours during an eight-day workweek.

What is the truck driver’s logbook?

For most of the history of commercial trucking, drivers have been required to keep a paper record, known as a logbook, that details their duty hours, driving hours, as well as time spent and the sleeper berth. However, as of December 18, 2017, drivers must now abide by the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule.

This means that paper logs are no longer the only requirement that truck drivers have concerning tracking their hours. Nearly every commercial truck in the United States must have an ELD installed in their vehicle. The devices connect to the truck’s engine and keep track of how long the truck has been in motion. If the ELD fails, a truck driver is allowed to use a paper logbook for eight days.

How can a logbook help an injury case?

In the event a crash involving a commercial truck occurs, the logbook may be able to help any potential personal injury case that arises. When conducting investigations into these cases, your truck accident attorney, insurance carriers, and the trucking company will use various types of evidence to determine exactly what happened.

If truck driver fatigue is the suspected cause of the crash, one of the main points of interest will be the electronic and paper logbook. These logs can be examined to determine whether or not the trucker was abiding by the federal hours of service requirements.

While it is more difficult for a trucker to falsify ELD records than paper logbook records, there are still ways the truckers get around hours of service requirements. If by looking at the logbooks, it can be determined that a trucker violated the hours of service requirements, the truck driver or truck company may be held liable for the accident.