Truck Driver Record of Duty Status: Effect on Clarksburg Personal Injury Lawsuits (Part A)

Tim Miley
Injury Lawyer, Author, & Owner of The Miley Legal Group

After any truck accident, you and your Clarksburg personal injury attorney have to collect all of the evidence that is available to prove negligence and liability in your case. This includes the Record of Duty Status, or logbook, which can be instrumental in proving just how much fault should be placed on the driver in question. The logbook can have a major effect on the outcome of a personal injury lawsuit in many cases. If the driver broke DOT regulations or didn't follow the guidelines of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it will be reflected in the log. 

The U.S. government has the authority to regulate the trucking industry because drivers regularly cross state lines. This resulted in the creation of the FMCSA, which helps regulate and monitor activities in the trucking industry to ensure that procedures are followed safely and effectively. 

The rules put down by the FMCSA include: 

  • operational hour allowances;
  • breaks required;
  • activities allowed; and
  • necessary items to record, and more. 

What a Logbook Contains 

The logbook's primary function is to record when a driver is on or off duty and within that time, drivers must specify: 

  • when they take breaks;
  • when they use the sleeper; and
  • when driving or delivering a load.

There are different styles of logbooks that drivers can use today, but they all must contain the same basic details. 

  • Work Period: Drivers have to account for every single minute that they work. This includes driving, loading or unloading, and other work-related activities. Drivers aren't allowed to drive for more than 10 hours at a time and must record all of their activities.
  • Rest Period: Drivers must have an 8-10 hour break every 24 hours. During this time, they can sleep, eat, shower, relax or do anything that doesn't involve work. They typically stop at rest areas or truck stops. Once again, every hour must be recorded during the break period so that their time can be accounted for.
  • Sleeper Time: Typically, drivers have sleepers in their trucks. Part of FMCSA regulations state that drivers must spend time in this area every day. They have to record their time spent in the sleeper in the logbook. 

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