How to Fill Out a Dot Log Book

by Robert Seefeldt; Updated September 26, 2017

You applied for a truck driving job and were offered the position as an over-the-road driver. You learned during the interview and hiring process that filling out a Department of Transportation (DOT) log book is part of the job. Not once during your working career have you filled out a log book and you are not at all familiar with the process. With practice, and training from your new employer, filling out a log book will become easier each time you do it, keeping you in compliance with state and federal laws.

Begin filling your log book at the top of the page by including the month, date and year of your trip.

Fill in the name and address of the terminal you work out of in the area where it says "home terminal address."

List the truck/tractor or trailer number to the box to the left of the home terminal area that reads "truck/tractor and trailer numbers."

Fill out the pick up and delivery destination section, which is at the very bottom of the page. Be sure to include the name of the city and state you are departing from and the city and state which is your final destination.

Check your odometer and record your starting mileage in the "total miles driving today" section.

Begin your trip by recording the time you are departing, allowing 30 minutes for vehicle inspection. For example, if you plan to leave at 10:30 a.m., using a ruler and pen, draw a line in the "off duty" section of the log book from the beginning part of the graph, which says "midnight." Then continue the line all the way across to 10:00 a.m. Then drop the line down and over a half hour in the "on duty" section and up to the area where it says "driving." Include the city and state of departure and vehicle inspection comment.

Continue recording the arrival and departure times between each scheduled stop. Include breaks for fueling, loading and unloading and being broken down along the road. Record actual driving times in the driving section graph. If stopped and not driving, record those times in the "on duty but not driving" area of the log book. If stopped for the day and are sleeping in the sleeping berth of the truck, record those times in the sleeping berth section.

Start a new page if you drive past midnight and into the following day. Once you reached the midnight hour you need to record the time and total mileage of that day's trip and start a new page and continue the process into the next day.

Enter the end time of your trip and total up the hours in each section after reaching your final destination. The totals should add up to 24 hours. If not, re-check the times in each graph to make sure you added correctly. Record the ending mileage and subtract that from your starting mileage to give you the total miles of the trip over a 24-hour period.

About the Author

Based in northeastern Wisconsin, Robert Seefeldt has been writing in the newspaper industry since 1982. He has written for the former "Menominee Herald-Leader" newspaper and several online publications. Seefeldt studied journalism and business at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

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