What is a Truck Driver’s Travel Log?
Commercial truck drivers are professionals. Just like your manager may require an account of how you are spending your workday, truck drivers also need to account for their day. However, truck drivers don’t have someone in the cab looking over their shoulder and making sure they are adhering to regulations. There is where the truck driver’s travel log comes into play.
What exactly is a truck driver’s travel log, and what kind of information does it hold? At Hankey Marks & Crider, we break down the data contained in these logs and how it may impact you if you are ever the victim of a truck accident.
Why a Travel Log?
Operating a large truck is about more than just getting a load from point A to point B. There are numerous rules and regulations that truck operators must follow to be in accordance with federal guidelines. To help track compliance with these rules, trucking companies require drivers to complete travel logs. These logs used to be paper books that a driver would have to complete along their route. Today, most commercial trucking companies have gone high-tech. Electronic Logging Devices are now standard on most commercial vehicles.
What Information Does a Travel Log Contain?
Travel logs record more than just a truck driver’s hours on the road. These logs also document a driver’s breaks, inspection reports, and a wealth of other information about the use of the vehicle. Most truck driver’s travel logs will include:
- Log of off-duty hours
- Sleeping berth hours
- Number of hours the truck is in operation
- Number of miles traveled
- Name of carriers being driven for
- Description of cargo being transported
This information is vital because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration strictly outlines regulations that govern a truck driver’s hours of service.
Federal Trucking Requirements
While truck drivers are often up against tight deadlines, the FMCSA recognizes that safety comes first. The federal agency restricts the number of hours truck drivers can operate their vehicles. These restrictions help cut down on fatigue and drowsy driving, which can cause devastating accidents. A truck driver’s travel log records a driver’s time on the road, helping to ensure that the driver does not exceed their hours of service.
Truck drivers who haul property are only allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours. This is after ten consecutive hours off duty. Drivers are also required to take 30-minute breaks after eight consecutive hours on the road. There are also regulations dictating sleeper berth, adverse driving conditions, and short-haul exceptions. Failing to properly log hours of service in a travel log or tampering with a truck’s travel log can come with stiff penalties. Violations can result in significant fines and may put a driver out of service.
How Can a Truck Driver’s Travel Log Impact an Accident Claim?
The information contained in a travel log can also be crucial after an accident. It may hold the key to understanding how an accident was caused and if the driver was in breach of federal regulations at the time of the collision. Why does this matter? It’s because the information may help point to the driver engaging in negligence. A negligent truck driver may be liable for compensating people who were injured in truck crashes for their injuries.
However, most of those injured in a truck wreck don’t know that trucks have travel logs. Even if they know about the existence of the travel log, they can rarely get their hands on the information contained in it. Trucking companies own and maintain control of a truck’s travel log, and they are not keen on turning over evidence that may demonstrate that their driver was negligent. Negligence on the part of the truck driver can mean the company and its insurer are on the hook for providing valuable compensation to those injured in the accident.
It can take legal intervention to get a company to hand over travel log data. Often, an attorney will need to draft a letter of spoliation notifying the company that they must preserve all evidence related to the accident. The sooner an attorney can write and serve this letter, the better the chances the data in a driver’s travel log will not be erased or destroyed. Again, this data can be vital to strengthening a victim’s claim for compensation.
Connect with Hankey Marks & Crider Today
Have you been involved in an accident with a large truck? Then turn to the Indianapolis truck accident lawyers of Hankey Marks & Crider for help. Our team has extensive experience handling truck accident claims and helping those who were injured pursue meaningful compensation for their injuries and suffering.