What Is a Truck Driver’s Travel Log?
Oct 15, 2021 | Sean Content Team
Trucks deliver the majority of goods that consumers buy in stores or online. Certain regulations are in place to make sure all truck drivers operate safely. A key component of truck driver safety is the truck driver’s travel log. This documents various operating details for each driver. Completing the log is a requirement set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a part of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). In addition to documentation, the log also serves a preventative safety purpose. Truck drivers are limited by the FMCSA in the duration of their drive time and hours of service. By requiring truck drivers to continually maintain their log book, the FMCSA is able to enforce these limits.
Hours of Service Limits
FMCSA uses three maximum duty limits that all truck drivers must follow. These are the 14-hour driving window, the 11-hour driving limit, and the 60/70-hour duty limit. The 14-hour driving window means that all driving must occur during this 14-hour period. The driver may only drive their truck for up to 11 hours within that 14-hour window. After either of these limits is hit (whichever comes first), the driver must take at least ten consecutive hours off-duty before they are allowed to drive again. Also, once the driver has been on-duty for eight consecutive hours, they must take a 30-minute rest break before they may drive again.
The 60/70-hour duty limit is an additional requirement that works on a rolling basis. Which specific limit is used depends on the driver’s company. If the company operates vehicles each calendar day of the week, then the driver may drive a maximum of 70 hours in any rolling eight-day period. If the company does not operate vehicles on each calendar day of the week, then the driver may drive a maximum of 60 hours in any rolling seven-day period. Once the applicable limit is reached, the driver must wait until their number of hours drops below the limit for a seven or eight-day consecutive period, as applicable.
Driver’s Daily Log
The log book itself is the tool used by truck drivers to track and document their hours of service to make sure they do not exceed the maximum limits set forth by FMCSA. Drivers must fill out their log for each calendar day, and this must account for all 24 hours of each day. This includes days when they are not driving.
The actual implementation may take several forms. Drivers are permitted to use a hand-written hardcopy log, an automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD), or a similar electronic logging device (ELD). At this time, all commercial trucks are required to be equipped with an ELD.
The driver must fill out their own log book, and all information must be true and correct. Drivers may be subject to log book inspection at any point by authorized government inspectors. Requirements include that each of the prior eight days must all be logged. In addition, the driver’s log must be up-to-date for the present day as well, including their current status. When inspectors verify a driver’s logs, they are checking to make sure that the driver is in compliance with hours-of-service limits for the previous eight days. If a driver is in violation, they may receive a fine, or they may be taken out-of-service.
Information contained in the log includes data such as dates worked, miles driven, goods hauled, and company name. The central part of the log is the total hours corresponding to each duty status, which must add up to 24 hours. For each time period, the driver must account for their status as either: driving, on-duty (but not driving), off-duty, or sleeper berth.
Two exceptions exist that may not require a driver to complete a log if certain conditions are met. These are the 100 Air-Mile Radius exception and the Non-CDL Short-Haul exception. Certain stipulations apply, and essentially these exceptions are for non-long-haul and non-over-the-road drivers.
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