JANUARY 3, 2024 – A driver log is a record of a commercial truck driver’s activities, such as breaks, rest periods, driving time, and off-duty hours. Its main purpose is to monitor your trips and off-duty time. If you’re involved in an accident, for instance, your log book will contain all activities leading up to the accident, which could help determine whether or not you were within the legal parameters at the time of the accident.
Read on to learn more about driver logbooks, as well as the importance of accurate logbook keeping for truckers in the military.
What Should Your Driver Log Book Contain?
Besides driving, on-duty, and resting hours, your driver log should also contain:
- The name and office address of the carrier you’re working for
- A record of the day’s total miles driven
- Your truck license number
- Your co-driver’s details, if you have one
- Your time base time – You should use your base time zone to record your working hours, even if you cross other time zones throughout your workday.
- Shippers name and the commodity they’re shipping
- Total hours worked within a 24-hour window
- Your signature and certification of the accuracy of the log entries
Rules to Follow When Logging in Your Work Hours
To ensure compliance with the truck driver log, you must:
- Accurately log in your hours of service as per the regulations of the jurisdiction that you operate in
- Review and update your logbook regularly to maintain accurate records
- Be aware of any exceptions or special circumstances that might apply to your situation
Besides that, you must adhere to the set regulations for hours of service. They are as follows:
- You must take a 30-minute break after eight hours of duty.
- You shouldn’t spend 11 hours or more behind the wheel in a 14-hour work shift.
- You can’t work for more than 14 hours in a row.
- You should adhere to the seven or eight-day work limit. This basically means that you cannot be on the road for more than 70 hours over eight consecutive days if you’re on an eight-day rolling week and 60 hours over seven consecutive days if you’re on a seven-day rolling week.
Regulations Around Driver Logs
Driver logs exist for one main reason: to promote safety on the road by ensuring that drivers do not cause accidents due to tiredness and fatigue. That said, here are some rules that govern truck driver logs, as stipulated by The Department of Transportation (DOT):
- Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are required to use electronic login devices (ELDs) to record hours of service. That’s because ELDs are more accurate and can automatically track details like vehicle movement, location, driving time, and engine hours.
- Failure to comply with regulations regarding hours of service or not recording the correct entries could result in penalties, such as license suspension, out-of-service order, or fines.
Exceptions to Keeping a Drivers Log
Here are some circumstances where truckers are not required to keep a log:
- If they’re driving within a radius of 100 miles from their usual reporting station
- When a trucker is driving a truck that doesn’t require a CDL, operating within a 150-air-mile radius
Why Is It Important for Truck Drivers to Keep Accurate Logs?
Logbook records can equip fleet managers with the necessary data to:
- Track their driver’s whereabouts to ensure they’re operating within their specified route
- Calculate the cost per mile per vehicle
- Analyze driver performance and identify key areas for improvement
According to the National Institute of Health, truck driver fatigue is associated with 13% of car crashes in the U.S. Fleet managers can help bring these numbers down by ensuring that their drivers keep accurate logs. This can help reduce the risk of accidents caused by fatigue and drowsy driving.
Accurate recordkeeping can help carriers schedule driver assignments and plan their routes effectively. This streamlines operations and cuts down costs in a big way.
Keeping accurate logs can help truck drivers stay compliant with laws pertaining to hours of service, which ultimately reduces the risk of violations and penalties.
Keep a Well-maintained Truck Driver Log
Keeping an up-to-date driver log isn’t just necessary to streamline operations in the trucking industry. It’s also essential in promoting safety and compliance with regulations. Whether you’re a military personnel, a fleet manager, or an individual using your own vehicle for business, keeping accurate logbooks is essential.
By playing by the rules surrounding logbooks, you can ensure accurate recordkeeping and ultimately guide your trucking business toward successful operations.