How Driver Log Books Can Affect Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
Truckers are required to maintain log books to ensure that they comply with truck driver’s hours of service rules. However, many New York drivers violate these rules and falsify log books. Examination of the record books after an accident can provide clues about a driver‘s negligence in your acciden
Truck Driver Hours of ServiceThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration clearly defines the hours of service for commercial truck and bus drivers. Operators of commercial vehicles can drive only for a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off duty. S/he cannot spend more than 14 hours working after beginning the shift, and must not work more than 60/70 hours in a seven to eight-day period. However, too many truck drivers violate these rules and drive for longer than is allowed. Much of the reason has to do with pressure from trucking companies who want to transfer large volumes of freight. The semi truck drivers' employers remind drivers that they receive more money the more freight they deliver per day, essentially encouraging them to turn over their freight as quickly as possible. That pressure can result in violations that often leave a truck driver fatigued, and in danger of causing an accident.
Log Book Record Keeping RulesThe federal government requires each truck driver to maintain a log book in which s/he clearly records the number of miles traveled, as well as the numbers of hours logged in each week. A truck driver is required to maintain this log book accurately and diligently. Accurate record keeping depends heavily on compliance by truckers who are alone in the cab most of the time and must manually enter their logs in a paper-based format (as opposed to say, an electronically generated, automatic service).
Common Logbook ViolationsSome of the most common log book violations have to do with failure to record the time correctly. Trucking drivers may fail to record accurately the time that they have traveled in their log books, and trucking companies may fail to enforce rules requiring the maintenance of these records. Additionally, trucking companies may falsify log books if drivers are found noncompliant with regulations.
How can log book violations help your trucking accident lawsuit?The trucking company is required to ensure that its truck drivers are complying with all regulations related to logbook record keeping. After a trucking accident, attorneys will conduct a complete investigation of the accident, which will include an analysis of the log books to look for signs of falsification or violations of the rules. Typically, an investigation will include the use of data from the truck's black box recorder, and other information to find out whether the log book data is misleading. These two sources will tell if the truck driver violated the hours of service rules. If investigations reveal that the driver falsified the log books in violation of federal laws, then the driver and the company are liable for a personal injury claim.