Truck Driver Log Books
What is a driver’s daily log and what does it mean for my truck accident case?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers have daily logs so that they can keep track of their hours of service. These log books are periodically checked by authorized government inspectors to ensure that a driver is meeting Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. Some commercial trucks are equipped with electronic onboard recorder devices, but they do not require manual tracking of hours. Officially, these manual recordings of hours worked are called the "Record of Duty Status" forms. When a driver violates HOS or log book regulations, they could face fines or even have their CDL taken away ( § 395.8 FMCSA). If you were involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, our truck accident investigators can use the evidence from log books to build your case.
Log Book Exceptions
According to the FMCSA,
"Any person who is subject to the safety regulations and drives a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) must complete a logbook page for any day that includes CMV driving and for the prior 7 days (unless under an exception on some of those days)."
However, there are two exceptions to the log book requirement: the 100 air-mile radius exception and the non-CDL short-haul exception. Every employer requires something different from its drivers and these rules could vary from state to state. The truck driver you were involved in an accident with may not have had a driver log, but there are still many other forms of evidence our firm could use to build a strong case for you. If the trucker did keep a driver log, then our investigators can see information like where they drove, the total miles driven, cargo information, and additional information under the "remarks" section of the log such as adverse driving conditions, unplanned stops, etc.
Federal Trucking Regulations
While driving tired is not illegal per se, the dangers are clear. This is why the United States government has created explicit regulations and laws governing truckers' driving habits in an attempt to reduce the occurrence of tired driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the government organization responsible for the oversight of the trucking industry. All drivers and companies responsible for commercial motor vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds must comply with what are known as hours-of-service regulations. These regulations were created with the specific intention of preventing truck drivers from getting behind the wheel when tired or overworked.
Some of the most important hours-of-service rules include:
- Driving Limits. Property-carrying truck drivers may only drive a maximum of 11 hours per day after a mandatory 10 consecutive hours off duty. Passenger-carrying truck drivers may drive a maximum of 10 hours per day after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
- Limits on Workday Hours. Drivers of property-carrying trucks may not drive beyond their 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. For drivers of passenger-carrying vehicles, the limits are 15 hours on duty following 8 consecutive hours off duty.
In addition to these driving and workday hour limits, there are also numerous additional regulations regarding truck drivers' hours of service. These include the amount of hours they are permitted to work in a week and provisions for off-duty hours in a sleeper berth or cab. Like we mentioned above, companies and drivers are also required by law to keep extensive documentation and records of their hours.
Truck Driver Fatigue and Serious Collisions
The main reason driver logs are required is to keep truckers accountable. Drivers are required to adhere to federal HOS requirements mainly for the purpose of avoiding fatigue. Truckers often have to drive for long hours consecutively and even overnight in order to get their cargo to its destination on time. To combat trucker fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel, the FMCSA implemented mandatory resting breaks and time off for truckers. Log books and electronic onboard recorders are just a few methods for ensuring adherence to these laws. Unfortunately, some drivers manipulate log books and falsify entries in order to cover up potential violations. Even if this was the case in your accident, trust our team of truck accident attorneys to uncover the true cause of the collision.
By closely analyzing your case and the unique circumstances involved, we can determine whether a tired or overworked truck driver caused your accident and work intelligently toward securing maximum compensation for your personal injury claim.
How a Houston Attorney Can Assist
You may be unsure whether or not your case deserves legal representation, but our firm encourages you to give us a call. We provide free consultations that come at no obligation to you. At Stern Law Group, we are passionate about the aggressive representation of clients. If you deserve compensation, our goal is to secure that compensation for you. We will evaluate your case and advise you of the best recourse. Our firm has trial experience, which is important because your case could go to trial.
Our firm consistently secures successful settlements before the trial phase because we have a reputation for winning in the courtroom. Again, please do not hesitate to contact a Houston truck accident lawyer from our firm today.