What is a truck driver’s logbook and how can it help your case?
Motor Vehicles Accidents - April 28, 2021
A truck driver’s log book keeps track of their hours driving and hours taken off between shifts. If you were in an accident with a truck, a log book can show if the driver was adhering to the legal requirements, or if they are guilty of negligence or breaking the law.
Below, we discuss what a driver’s log book is and why it could play a crucial role in the outcome of a case. The Chicago truck accident lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help you understand the legal implications of a specific truck driver’s log book in your personal injury case.
Call (800) 985-1819 today for a free consultation.
What are a truck driver’s Hours of Service requirements?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. This is the agency tasked with regulating various aspects of the truck driving industry, including limiting the number of hours that truck drivers can spend on the road.
To enforce these hours of service, all drivers are required to keep a log of their driving time. Recent laws stipulate that these hours of service must be recorded on an electronic logging device (ELD), though the hours used to be recorded on paper log books.
Hours of service requirements are absolutely necessary to combat truck driver fatigue. Currently, the hours of service requirements are as follows:
- Drivers can operate their vehicle during a 14-hour window each day, but only after they have been off duty for ten consecutive hours.
- During the 14-hour driving window, the truck driver can operate for 11 total driving hours, with the remaining time constituting various breaks the driver needs.
- Any driver who has been operating their vehicle for more than eight consecutive hours must take a 30-minute break.
- During a seven-day workweek, drivers can operate for 60 total hours.
- During an eight-day workweek, drivers can operate for 70 total hours.
What information is in the log book?
A log book contains a detailed breakdown of the specific hours spent on and off duty, as well as a record of the total hours spent driving and on breaks.
The log must contain the following information: duty hours, driving hours, and time spent sleeping. Electronic logging devices are installed in commercial trucks and connect to the engines to keep track of the vehicle’s time spent in motion.
Truck drivers who do not have an electronic logging device in their trucks receive citations and fines, and their trucks can be suspended from use.
How a Trucker’s Log Book Can Be Used in Your Case
A truck driver’s log book will be incredibly beneficial in the aftermath of a vehicle accident involving a commercial truck. When investigating these cases, police officers, insurance carriers, and attorneys will all be working to determine liability.
The following are things in a truck driver log book that can be used in your personal injury case to prove liability on the part of the truck driver:
Violating hours of service (HOS) rules
If the truck driver violated the hours of service (HOS) rules, then they can be held liable (at fault) for the accident.
HOS rules exist to keep other drivers on the road – and the truck drivers themselves – safe and help prevent avoidable accidents. If a truck driver does not adhere to the hours of service rules, they risk fatigue and exhaustion, which increases the likelihood that they will get into an accident due to distraction or falling asleep while driving.
- Includes miles covered: The truck driver log book also includes the miles driven over a period of time. This information can prove that the driver drove more miles consecutively or within a certain time period than is allowed by law.
The truck driver’s logged off-duty time can be important to your case. If they did not take the required break times, they may be held liable for the accident due to not getting the necessary rest time to be alert and perform their job safely.
Reports covering the truck inspections can also help prove liability for the accident. If the truck driver did not make sure the truck was inspected correctly or with the required frequency, then they can be responsible for any truck malfunctions that may have caused the accident.
Holding Negligent Truckers Accountable
Truck accidents can be catastrophic, and if a truck driver’s negligence is to blame for an accident, then they should be held accountable. These accidents can result in serious injury, permanent disability, or even death.
If you are a victim of a vehicle accident that is the fault of a negligent truck driver, you deserve justice. An experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer can help you get the maximum amount of compensation available to you.
Call Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates today at (800) 985-1819 for a free consultation.