Truck Drivers & Their Log Books

by Dan Reo | Last Updated: May 30, 2018

Truck driver fatigue is responsible for at least 13 percent of all crashes, accounting for 12,000 or so accidents per year. We understand that most truckers are good people who care about following the law. The federally mandated logbooks can seem like an inconvenience when you want to “sleep on your own schedule,” but these rules are in place to keep all motorists safe. You may not realize the toll that hours of driving takes on your mental state – before it’s too late.

Who is liable when truckers cheat on their log books and cause an accident?

Most rule violations are not caught until the crash occurs and a truck accident lawyer is hired to take a closer look. Ultimately, it’s the truck companies who are held liable for enforcing the rules, conducting routine audits, looking for discrepancies, and penalizing truckers who cheat on their log books. Individual drivers can be sued as well, but it’s typically the insured trucking companies with the deep pockets who are sued by injured plaintiffs.

Sometimes it’s the companies themselves that pressure drivers into falsifying their books to log more miles faster and save the company’s “bottom line.” In other cases, drivers falsify the books to spend more time at home with their families or to avoid having their pay docked for shipping and receiving delays.

How do truck drivers cheat on their log books?

There are many ways truck drivers cheat on their logs, including:

  • Saying they were “in the sleeper” or taking an “off duty” break, when in reality they’re loading, unloading, fueling, going through inspections, or even driving to the next location.
  • Creating fake “model log books” to show inspectors, but failing to fill out the information daily as they are supposed to.
  • Temporarily disconnecting certain EOBR models from the truck or blocking their signals to avoid the recording of data.
  • Using “ghost logs” with multiple driver ID numbers to hide their activities.
  • Getting around speed limits by using the Safety Pass Pro to override speed governors.
  • Taking the truck out of gear when stuck in traffic to shift the log from “driving time” to “off-duty.”
  • Tacking any activity under five minutes onto the last duty status, so short hops from truck stops to a terminal is not recorded as “drive time.”

Find an experienced truck accident attorney to represent your case in Pittsburgh, PA

Contact a Pittsburgh truck accident lawyer at Chaffin Luhana for a free case review. If you’ve been in a serious accident involving a commercial truck, the driver log books are one of the first records we’ll examine to determine if fatigue was a factor. We’ll also investigate maintenance records for the truck to see if other violations led to the crash. When you are injured through no fault of your own, you may be eligible to seek money for medical bills, lost time off work, and emotional pain and suffering. When a loved one is killed in a trucking accident, family members may be able to collect wrongful death damages. Remember, all personal injury representation is offered on a contingency basis, meaning there is no upfront cost to plaintiffs. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by exploring your full set of legal options.

Additional resources:

  1. Keep Truckin – Fatigued Drivers, https://keeptruckin.com/blog/accidents-fatigued-drivers/
  2. Trucking Industry News – Truck Drivers Forced to Falsify Logs, http://truckingindustry.news/103/truck-drivers-forced-to-falsify-logs.html