Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates require that truck drivers properly maintain daily log books. For each 24-hour period, the driver must detail the time he started and stopped working, the hours driven and each stop made throughout the day, including the time spent off duty. An incomplete or inaccurate daily log book increases the chance of a driver being fined, ticketed or parked. For team drivers, each driver must keep his own log book and adhere to the current federally mandated hours of service requirements.
Enter the basic information such as the current date, the driver’s name, the carrier’s number and your truck number. Most log books follow a similar format with perhaps a few subtle differences. Completion of even this basic information is required to meet federal log book regulations. Each driver must maintain his own daily log, but both drivers’ logs should represent the same 24-hour period.
Log activity each time you start and stop driving. Track all activity using the graph located in the activity portion of the log. The activities listed in the log are “On Duty,” “Sleeper Berth,” “Off Duty” and “Driving.” Track your activity by drawing a straight line through the correct activity for the appropriate duration. For example, if you were driving from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m., you would draw a line from the “4:00 a.m.” mark to the “11:00 a.m.” mark under the “Driving” activity section. Again, most log books follow a similar format with perhaps a few subtle differences.
Update the log throughout the day. Track whenever you take a break or stop for food. Also track when making the change from driving to loading or unloading. Maintain proper notes on when, where and for how long each activity took place. Remember, keeping daily logs neat prevents a driver from having to explain any scribbles or scratch-outs to an inspection officer.
Ensure the off-duty team driver remains in the sleeper, and not in the passenger seat, while the truck is in motion during his federally mandated 10-hour break.
Ensure the proper time by checking the clock before entering the information in the log. Current federal law limits each driver to a maximum of 14 hours of work in a 24-hour period, no more than 11 hours of which may be spent driving. Keep old log books. They may come in handy around tax time.
Department of Transportation officials may inspect your log book at any time. Violations can result in fines or being parked for up to 34 hours.
Mindi Orth began writing in 1996 as a technical writer for a consulting firm. She has experience in business documentation and has authored training and instructional materials. Orth holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Baldwin-Wallace College.