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What is a Truck Driver’s Logbook and How it Can Help Your Case?

Accidents involving larger commercial trucks often result in devastating injuries and substantial property damage for those involved. In many cases, it is discovered that these incidents were caused by the careless or negligent actions of a trucking company or a truck driver. It is crucial to gather as much evidence as possible in order to prove liability. One valuable piece of evidence obtained after a truck accident occurs is the driver’s logbook. Here, we want to discuss what this logbook actually is and how it can play a role and determine liability for the incident so victims can recover the compensation they are entitled to.

What are a Truck Driver’s Hours of Service Requirements in California?

The US Department of Transportation is responsible for regulating various aspects of the trucking industry across the country. Specifically, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is tasked with ensuring that drivers follow the hours of service requirements put in place by federal regulators.

The hours of service for truck drivers work to ensure that drivers do not operate while fatigued. Federal regulations specifically limit the number of hours that drivers can operate their vehicles during every workday and throughout the workweek. Additionally, drivers are required to keep track of their hours of service.

Currently, the hours of service requirements control drivers can be summarized here:

  • Drivers are allowed to operate during a 14-hour window every day, but only after they have been off duty for ten or more consecutive hours.
  • During a 14-hour driving window, the truck driver is allowed 11 total driving hours, but the remaining time has to consist of various breaks.
  • Drivers who have been operating their vehicle for eight consecutive hours are required to take a 30-minute break before being allowed to drive additional time.
  • Drivers can operate for 60 total hours during a seven-day workweek or 70 total hours in an eight-day workweek.

What is the Truck Driver’s Logbook?

Traditionally, truck drivers have been required to keep paper logbooks of their total driving time, their duty hours, and how much time they spend in their sleeper berth (if applicable). However, new regulations kicked in on December 18, 2017, that now require commercial truck drivers to have electronic logging devices (ELD) inside each vehicle.

Now, paper logbooks are not the only requirement for truck drivers when it comes to keeping strict track of their hours of service. In fact, drivers can face significant penalties if they do not have an ELD installed in their vehicles. An ELD connects directly to the truck’s engine and tracks how long the vehicle has been in motion. Drivers are still allowed to use paper logbooks for up to 8 days if the ELD stops working.

How Will a Driver’s Logbook Help After a Crash Occurs?

The truck driver’s logbook will be beneficial in the aftermath of any type of crash to help determine the liability of the truck driver or others involved. In some cases, an electronic logging device could help exonerate a driver who has been accused of operating while fatigued or in violation of the hours of service. However, truck crash victims could use this data to prove the truck driver was indeed in violation of the hours of service requirements. These types of violations can be serious, particularly if truck driver fatigue is a suspected cause of the incident. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, speak with a truck accident attorney in Orange County today.