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What changes are coming to trucking logs?

Truck drivers are required to keep track of four major things in their log books: the amount of time they spend off duty, on duty, actually driving and sleeping.

Traditionally, the paper sheets either came bound in a book or in loose-leaf form -- and many truckers (and companies) preferred the loose-leaf kind. Officially, it made the papers easier to fill out. Unofficially, it made it easier to keep one log that was real and one that could be turned in for show.

The problem was so well-known that it wasn't unusual to hear someone call the log books "comic books" instead. Truckers often felt forced by their companies to keep two sets of books -- one that kept the Department of Transportation happy and one that kept the employer happy. Other drivers did it because it simply paid more to drive more -- whether they were fatigued or not.

As of Dec. 17th, 2017, truck drivers will be required to convert to electronic logging devices (ELD) to do their tracking -- making it much harder to get away with cheating on the record.

The move comes after years of discussion, followed by several delays in implementation of the ELD system nationwide. However, there are still some important exceptions:

  • Electronic logging devices are not required in trucks that were made prior to 2000.
  • Trucks that don't engage in interstate commerce -- those that stay within their own state -- are not required to use an ELD system.
  • If a company is using an automatic on-board recorder, it can continue to use that system for up to two years following the mandated change to ELD systems.

It's also important to understand that despite the automation of the ELD system, drivers are still responsible for making sure that the logs are right -- and they require manual acceptance of the driver in order to fully complete the records. If the driver doesn't do that, the ELD recording is unofficial and not binding.

This is important information both for anyone who gets into an accident with a truck and their attorney -- it helps explain what evidence is likely available about the driver's sleeping and driving patterns and what problems there may be with that evidence.

Anyone injured in an accident with a truck should seek the services of an attorney in order to protect their rights.

Source: Truck-Drivers-Money-Saving-Tips.com, "On Falsifying a Log Book Entry as a Professional Truck Driver," accessed Aug. 23, 2017

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