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Big rigs are required to keep truck log books, but few do

file2811244091888 morguefile username wallyirBy Kyle Roby, Attorney

English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP

Tractor trailer drivers are required to keep log books. Log books record the time a truck driver has been driving or on-duty. It’s one of the first things we examine when we’re called on to help someone who has been injured in an accident that involves a truck. Few drivers, however, are as dutiful with keeping those truck log books as they should be. Log books are hand-written, and simple to read, and easy to keep up with if a driver wants to do so.

The truck log books require the following of a driver and the company he or she works for:

  • Log books must be kept as the driver goes. Every time a driver begins the day, he or she is required to note the city, state, and time.
  • The driver is to keep track of the amount of time driving – time left, time arrived, and time spent on breaks throughout the day.
  • The name of the company that owns the truck and its headquarter’s location are required at the top of each log book page.
  • The driver must sign the log book to indicate that the information in it is accurate and truthful.

If the driver is following the law, the truck log books should show that he or she abided by the time limits specified by law. Police officers, state troopers and officials from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are allowed to examine the log books at any time to check to see if the driver is following the law. Many times, though, drivers do not keep up with log books, or falsify the books to indicate he or she has abided by the law.

The log book is supposed to serve as proof that the truck driver and the company that owns the truck did not violate the hours of service rule, which is part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. We’ve written about this previously, which you can read here. Essentially, the hours of service rule provides that a truck driver may work no more than 14 hours in a day, with only 11 of those hours actual driving time. The rule is intended to limit truck driver fatigue. A truck driver can only operate a vehicle for 8 consecutive hours before taking a break, which must be 30 minutes or longer. The truck driver must record his or her hours of service in a driver’s log book that he or she must keep updated at all times. Every time a driver stops, he or she should note the time and location and how long he or she was stopped.

There are many regulations for large trucks primarily because when trucks are involved in an accident, it can be very dangerous for all involved, but particularly a small vehicle against a truck – and anything that’s not another tractor-trailer is small by comparison. Trucks are often weighed down with tons of cargo, and it can take a great distance for a truck to come to a full and complete stop. By the time this is achieved, if a truck has collided with a car, the car and its occupants have come to great harm. Fatalities are far more common with truck accidents than collisions between two vehicles.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a truck, please contact us. We can assist you with your case against the trucking firm, insurance carriers and other organizations that should be held accountable for their actions. Contact me, attorney Kyle Roby, at English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, (270) 781-6500 or kroby@elpolaw.com.