Avoiding Common Mistakes in Your FMCSA Log Book: A Comprehensive Guide - Advanced-Trucking
truck driver holding logbook

Avoiding Common Mistakes in Your FMCSA Log Book: A Comprehensive Guide

The FMCSA has found several ways that a driver might violate its standards; the government expects that by implementing the new computerized logbooks, drivers will be less likely to commit these potentially crippling infractions.

A driver may be found in breach of FMCSA requirements for several reasons, including missing logbooks, sloppy handwriting, incomplete logs, or manipulating the data.

In this post, we’ll outline some infractions that may result from inaccurate hours-of-service monitoring below, along with how e-logs assist drivers in avoiding difficult situations.

Driving Outside Recommended Hours

Hours-of-service (HOS) compliance is one of the most frequent infractions.

In the United States, drivers are limited to 11 hours of driving a day during a 14-hour workday, however in Canada, drivers are not permitted to exceed 13 hours of driving. This implies that to avoid breaking HOS, the driver must take an 8-hour break every 14 hours.

The FMCSA states that violations of these regulations may result in fines of up to $11,000 for each motor carrier or $2,750 in civil penalties for the driver.

In addition, it is legally mandated for drivers to work no more than 70 hours without taking a 36-hour rest.

Incomplete Form

In addition to recording their driving time, on-duty and off-duty hours, and other information on their vehicle and shipment, drivers also have a lot of other data to report. 

It is impossible to understand these documents, even if they are complete if they are sloppy or contain untidy handwriting. This implies that the motorist may still receive a citation for filing an incomplete form, pay a fee, or, in the worst-case scenario, endure a lengthier inspection.

The following items need to be on the form:

  • Date
  • Total distance traveled on that day
  • Number of trucks or vehicles
  • Carrier’s identification number
  • Name of the driver
  • The certifications and signature of the driver
  • Starting time of 24 hours
  • Total number of hours
  • The main office address
  • Any notes or comments
  • Co-drivers name
  • Numbers on shipping documents and comprehensive details
electronic logbook for truck drivers

Forged Logs

When dispatch presses drivers to finish the route or take on more deliveries, one tactic they can use is to forge the times recorded with a work diary. The FMCSA takes these fabricated logs very seriously and prosecutes those who violate the law.

At least 75 out of every 100 bogus reports end in an out-of-service infraction. This implies that until the reporting is updated, the driver is prohibited from operating a commercial vehicle for 24 hours. The consequences of these fraudulent reports can be severe, ranging from hundreds of dollars in fines to potential criminal prosecution of the driver or motor carrier.

Failing To Retain Prior Day’s Logs And Record Of Service

An instant out-of-service can be imposed if there is no duty record at all or if reports for the previous six days (or fourteen in Canada) are missing. The FMCSA won’t know how compliant your driver is if they don’t know how long they’ve been employed.

These records are the most frequently violated since a major infraction can be caused by a single missing piece of paper.

Fortunately, Electronic Logbooks (ELD) and Electronic Work Diary (EWD) completely stop these infractions from happening.

Incorrect logs and harassment concerns are avoided because drivers cannot manually alter what is recorded by the engine and dispatch cannot push drivers to work overtime. 

Since everything is tracked automatically, drivers don’t have to worry about keeping track of their reports for previous days, and even vehicle inspections are monitored by GPS fleet monitoring software.

These are the top common mistakes in FMCSA logbooks and how to resolve them.

Did we miss anything? If yes, feel free to share them in the comments!

Thank you!