What Is A Truck Driver’s Logbook And How It Can Help Your Case?

Anytime an accident occurs involving a larger commercial truck, it is vital to prove liability. Any person harmed due to the careless or negligent actions of a truck driver should be able to recover compensation for their losses. One of the most important pieces of evidence that could be used to prove liability in a truck accident claim is the driver’s logbook. It is important that you know the purpose of this logbook and how to go about obtaining it for your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

Hours of Service Requirements for Oregon Truck Drivers

Before a discussion of a truck driver’s logbook can take place, we have to understand the hours of service requirements set down for commercial truck drivers in Oregon and throughout the US. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for ensuring that truck drivers follow a set number of hours of operation each day and during a workweek. These hours of service are in place in order to prevent drivers from operating while fatigued. Commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and a vehicle of this size can lead to significant devastation should an accident occur because the driver fell asleep behind the wheel.

The current hours of service set forth by the FMCSA include the following:

  • Truck drivers can operate during a 14-hour window each day. However, this 14-hour window cannot start until a driver has been off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours.
  • During a 14-hour driving window, truck drivers can operate only for 11 of those hours. The other three hours must consist of breaks and mealtimes.
  • If a driver has been operating for eight consecutive hours, they are required to take a 30-minute break before continuing the rest of their driving time.
  • During a seven-day workweek, a driver can operate for 60 total hours.
  • During an eight-day workweek, drivers can operate for 70 total hours.

What Purpose Does the Logbook Serve?

A truck driver’s logbook is important. Traditionally, all truck drivers were required to keep written log books that tracked all of their on and off-duty hours. These logbooks were usually on paper, but that is not how these records are kept anymore. As of December 2017, every commercial truck driver must have an electronic logging device (ELD) installed inside their vehicle. These devices are plugged directly into a truck’s engine and keep track of all required hours of service automatically. Drivers can continue to use paper logbooks for eight days if the electronic logging device breaks down.

The ELD can play a significant role in the aftermath of a commercial truck accident that involves an injury, fatality, or property damage. If truck driver fatigue is the suspected cause of the crash, the electronic logging device will likely be subpoenaed by the injured party and their Portland truck accident attorney and undergo a thorough examination to look for any inconsistencies or violations of federal regulations.

If it is determined that a truck driver violated the federal regulations regarding hours of service, this could help and injured party recover compensation by showing that the driver was negligent.