The Role of FMCSA Log Books in Preventing Fatigue-Related Accidents - Advanced-Trucking
trucks lined up

The Role of FMCSA Log Books in Preventing Fatigue-Related Accidents

Similar to what you may have heard about airplanes having their “black box,” a truck driver’s log book contains information about the whereabouts and timing of the plane (or, in this case, truck) at each location. The hours spent traveling to and from work as well as the time off taken for rest in between shifts are recorded in a logbook.

This logbook has various uses that may be advantageous. Examining the reasons behind a truck accident might show if the driver was following the law’s guidelines for being attentive rather than fatigued at the time of the accident or whether they were driving carelessly. A driver’s logbook must be taken into consideration when reviewing these circumstances.

What is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates not just the laws drivers must follow when operating a vehicle on public roads, but also how truck drivers must perform their daily driving and cargo-related tasks.

The maximum period that drivers are allowed to spend “on the clock”—that is, when driving, taking breaks, and other activities—is known as the hours of service. The Hours Of Service rule prevents drivers from becoming careless because they are overworked and exhausted, and it mandates that they receive enough sleep in between trips to keep them aware and able to operate.

What Are The Hours Of Service?

The following are the regulations for drivers who are transporting property (we will utilize the guidelines for property-carrying drivers vs. passenger-carrying drivers in this example):

  • A driver who has worked ten straight hours off duty may work a maximum of eleven hours.
  • After ten hours of uninterrupted rest, drivers are not allowed to resume driving duties for more than 14 hours at a time.
  • After working for eight hours straight without a break, drivers are required to take a 30-minute break.
  • When faced with poor driving conditions or bad weather, drivers are permitted to exceed the 11-hour or 14-hour maximums.
  • It is not permitted for drivers to work more than 60 or 70 hours on ⅞ straight days.
  • Drivers can only resume a ⅞ consecutive day period after missing at least 34 hours of work.
truck driver holding files

How Can A Logbook Show That A Driver Was Not Operating During Their Allotted Hours?

Drivers are required to complete their logbooks. These logbooks can be examined following an accident to find out if the driver was on or off duty for the required number of hours. It may be a sign of negligence and the reason for the accident if they disobey the officially mandated Hour of Service regulations.

Since mileage is recorded in a logbook as well, additional inquiry may be necessary if the hours of service are accurate and within guidelines but the miles traveled do not correspond to the hours worked. A thorough examination of the miles driven may reveal evidence of speeding or tampering with the logbook, which may result in the driver being found negligent.

What Is A Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report?

Drivers of trucks weighing more than 10,001 pounds must complete an inspection report at the end of each day, much like a logbook. Establishing negligence in an accident can also be aided by the Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR).

Steering systems, brakes, tires, wheels, rims, windshield wipers, horns, rearview mirrors, emergency equipment, and more are among the crucial components that require daily inspections. This may also be used to establish whether the driver was operating the truck negligently before the collision if the driver violates accurate DVIRs or if there are no daily DVIRs.

Why Is Driver Fatigue A Serious Problem?

Drivers are prone to exceeding the boundaries between when they should be sleeping and when they should be driving to reach their destination on time because of tight deadlines. This may result in tired drivers or drivers who are far more likely to be involved in collisions.

An expert truck accident attorney can examine the details and confirm that the driver complied with the FMCSA’s operating regulations. Let’s say it turns out the driver disregarded any required restrictions, including the Hours of Service. The information provided can therefore be used to demonstrate negligence on the parts of the driver and, in certain situations, the trucking firm that hires the driver.

Stay Protected

You should be protected regardless of whether the truck you were driving was involved in the collision or it was the other driver’s vehicle. Truck accidents result in significantly more injuries and damages because of the size of the participating vehicles. 

An examination of a driver’s logbook can establish the existence of carelessness or show that the motorist complied with statutory requirements and was not negligent.

Want more content like this? Visit our website by clicking this link.