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Log Book Rules

Rules for truckers keeping records and the penalties for lying on log books

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations require that every truck driver prepare a record of duty status, otherwise called a log book. The log book must be in the truck driver’s own handwriting and detail his activities and duty status within each 24-hour period.

Employers must maintain supporting documents to verify the log books are true and accurate. Some truck drivers are paid by log book documentation and many fleets are maintained by them.

The log book recounts the history of the travel, equipment, people and problems from each trip. Breakdowns, delays, foul weather and disasters should be fully reflected in these documents.

It’s important to have a lawyer who understands a log book and knows how to discover additional information that can prove what was happening before the truck accident occurred. Often, truck drivers will have two sets of log books; one that outlines their true and illegal activities, such as speeding and driving beyond regulated hours of service; and another that appears the truck driver is playing by the rules.

What are the penalties for violating the hours-of-service rules?

Truck drivers or carriers who lie in their log books, thus violate the hours-of-service rules face serious penalties, including:

  • Truck drivers may be placed out-of-service (shut down) at roadside until the driver has accumulated enough off-duty time to be back in compliance.
  • State enforcement officials may assess fines.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may levy civil penalties on the driver or carrier, ranging from $550 to $11,000 per violation depending on severity.
  • Motor carrier’s safety rating can be down-graded for a pattern of violations.
  • Federal criminal penalties can be brought against truck driver employers who knowingly and willfully allow or require hours-of-service violations.

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