Keeping a logbook is mandatory for every long-haul truck driver in the United States. This rule is implemented by the U.S. Department of Transportation and upheld through fines, suspensions, and other repercussions. From an employer’s prospective, truck drivers who comply with the federal hours of service policy generally possess higher morale and better performance when compared to their colleagues that are forced to violate regulations.
What is a Driver’s Daily Log?
A driver’s daily log is a to-do list of sorts for truck drivers. They use it to keep track of the number of miles they drive and the amount of time they spend behind the wheel each day. This information becomes essential at tax time, as they can deduct driving expenses from their taxes. A daily log also helps employees do their job better by showing where and why time was spent away from the office.
A driver’s daily log book is a key component of any CDL driver. Unfortunately, many drivers overlook how the logbook can protect them in the event of an accident or serious violation. While it might not seem important, keeping proper track of your hours behind the wheel can save you time and money.
What does a driver’s daily log contain?
The driver’s daily log consists of four parts:
In the first section, the driver records his or her time on duty, which is the time spent driving the vehicle. This period includes the actual time on the road and any other activities that occur while the vehicle is in use, such as fueling and inspections.
In the second section, a driver records his or her driving time. This includes commercial and personal miles driven in a company-owned trucking vehicle during an entire day.
In the third section, drivers record their sleeper-berth time for each day when they are not on duty or driving. This includes all hours spent sleeping in a truck stop or rest area while on route to deliver cargo to its destination.
The last section is used to record off-duty time — any hours spent away from the vehicle when there is no driving activity taking place.
Essential Elements of a Driver’s Daily Log
Each driver’s daily log should include the following elements, according to the FMCSA :
The home terminal is where the driver is based and where they report for work. This can be a location such as a residence or place of business. The home terminal should be identified with the name, address, and phone number of the entity from which it operates.
Main Office Address
The main office address is also referred to as an “area office” and is where drivers report when they return from a trip. It should be identified with the name, address, and phone number of this office or person who has been designated to accept these reports.
Breakdowns and Accidents
Breakdowns are any problems that occur with a truck while in transit or at rest, such as engine failure or flat tires. Accidents involve personal injury or property damage that occurred while on duty (e.g., rear-ending another vehicle). These events must be recorded in the driver’s daily log (DDL) within 30 minutes after they occur.
The driver must sign and date the log every day before driving. This ensures that he or she is aware of all hours worked and that he or she has driven within Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. The signature also shows proof of compliance with federal laws.
Record of Hours Worked
This section indicates when a driver begins work, breaks taken during work hours, and when work ends for the day. It also indicates how many total hours were worked in a 24-hour period and how many hours were driven during that period.
This can help prevent accidents caused by tired drivers by allowing employers to see if they are working too many hours in one day or week. If a driver has performed more than 70 hours in one week or 60 consecutive hours without taking an eight-hour break, he or she should wait until taking another break before driving again.
How Often Should Drivers Keep Their Log Books?
It’s up to the motor carrier to decide how often drivers need to fill out their logs. Most carriers require their employees to check in at least once per day but allow some leeway for emergencies or other unexpected delays.
Drivers may also be required to submit a written report when they return from an extended trip or vacation period. The logbook must be filled out each time a driver starts working, even if they have yet to go anywhere that day.
To avoid legal repercussions, it’s a good idea to keep your logbook up-to-date while driving. The best way to do this is to spend a few minutes each day filling out the previous day’s records. Keeping a record of your driving activities will help you and your employer stay up-to-date on potential traffic violations, hours of service, and other important regulations which are regulated under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).