Posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2022 at 3:57 pm
It can be challenging to prove that a truck driver should be held liable for causing an accident. If you suffered injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment and other expenses. However, you might not know how to show the truck driver’s actions contributed to the crash.
The trucker’s travel log could be the evidence you need to prove fault after a truck accident. Also called a logbook, the travel log documents a truck driver’s activity for every 24-hour period. If the logbook shows any information regarding reckless behavior, a violation of state or federal law, or any other form of negligence, you could use it to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Regulations Truck Drivers Must Follow
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers can’t exceed the maximum driving limits during their driving shifts. They’re also required to take breaks at specified times. The FMCSA enforces these standards to prevent driver fatigue and motor vehicle accidents.
The hours of service regulation outlines the rules commercial truck drivers must follow:
- Take a thirty-minute break after eight cumulative driving hours that doesn’t include at least thirty minutes of interruption
- Eleven-hour driving limit after ten off duty hours
- Cannot drive beyond the eleven-hour limit after taking ten consecutive hours off duty
- Permitted to drive up to two hours past the maximum driving limits when adverse conditions exist
- Spend a total of ten hours off duty with at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper birth and at least two hours off duty
Any truck driver who chooses to violate these regulations could receive a hefty fine. Subsequent offenses can even result in a suspended commercial driver’s license. Additionally, driving beyond the maximum limits can cause fatigue, placing other motorists at risk of harm in an accident.
Required Data in a Truck Driver’s Logbook
A truck driver’s travel log, also referred to as a logbook and record of duty status, includes details associated with a truck driver’s activity. The FMCSA requires truckers to enter information in their record of duty status during every twenty-four-hour period, even if they’re off duty or on a break.
The information required in a truck driver’s logbook includes:
- Truck driver’s signature
- Name of a co-driver
- City, village, or town and the state abbreviation for every change of duty status
- Total number of driving hours
- Time spent off duty, in the sleeper birth, and on breaks
- The date at the start of the twenty-four hours
- Licensing state and truck number or license number for the truck
- Time zone of the home terminal’s location, regardless of whether the truck driver drives into different time zones during their shift
- Name of the motor carrier and main office address
- An explanation for every unusual log entry or circumstance, such as poor weather conditions
- Shipper name or shipping document name and the type of contents transported in the truck
Drivers operating a commercial truck must maintain a detailed logbook with some exceptions. For example, if someone only travels within a 100 air-mile radius of their home terminal, they don’t have to record the above information.
Electronic Logging Devices
It is a legal requirement that motor carriers install electronic logging devices (ELD) in their commercial trucks. An ELD automatically records information while the truck driver operates the vehicle by synchronizing with the engine.
Some of the recorded data includes:
- Engine hours
- The driver or authorized user’s identification and information for the motor carrier and vehicle
- Trucker’s duty status
- Vehicle motion status
- Total driving miles
- Engine power status
Every truck driver must enter specific data manually since the ELD doesn’t record all the information the FMCSA requires.
ELDs allow truck drivers to electronically transfer the stored data in a file to law enforcement or another official if requested. This provides the necessary details for law enforcement to investigate accidents and determine if the truck driver violated any regulations.
Proving Fault After a Truck Accident
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident due to the negligent actions of a truck driver, you should hire an attorney. Proving fault in a case like this is often a challenge. You will need access to sufficient evidence to show your behavior at the wheel did not contribute to the crash.
Truck accident lawyers have the resources to gather all of the available evidence, including the truck driver’s record of duty status. Your lawyer can review the data for information that could work in your favor. For example, if the trucker drove beyond the maximum driving limit, they might have felt fatigued, resulting in the accident.
Contact Tiemann Law Firm
Since 1998, the dedicated and experienced attorneys from Tiemann Law Firm have represented clients injured by the wrongdoings of others. We will aggressively fight to hold the truck driver liable for their actions and seek the compensation you deserve.
If you sustained injuries in an accident due to the truck driver’s negligence, do not hesitate to call us at (916) 999-9000 for your free consultation.