Driving a commercial vehicle without proper rest is dangerous. The federal government has set rules to keep fatigued drivers off the road, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, tries to ensure drivers follow them by requiring drivers to account for their time in a log book. Falsifying or failing to keep an accurate daily log can lead to serious consequences, such as penalties and having your license suspended.
The layout of log book pages may differ, but the required information is the same. Start at the top of the form and enter the full date, your name and co-driver's name, if you have one. Enter the carrier's name and address. Provide the truck and trailer numbers. If you change trucks or trailers during a 24-hour period, you need to list all the numbers. Also, report the numbers from the shipping documents, add the shipper's name and state what you're hauling.
On the Road
The log has a grid that spans 24 hours. It contains a row for each of the following activities: time spent off-duty, in the sleeper berth, driving and on-duty but not driving. Use the grid to report your activities starting at midnight.
Say you start driving at 9 a.m. Go to the off-duty line and draw a horizontal line from midnight to your starting time. Don't forget to allot at least 30 minutes before your departure for the required pre-trip inspection, which is considered an "on-duty but not driving" activity. In this case, you would draw a horizontal line from midnight to 8:30 a.m. Draw a vertical line to the "off-duty but not driving" row and a make horizontal line to 9 a.m. That 30-minute mark indicates your inspection time. Proceed to make a vertical line to the driving section, and then draw another line across indicating how you long you drive before your first stop.
Pause for a Cause
When you stop driving, draw a vertical line from the driving row to the appropriate activity. If you stop for a break, draw a line to off-duty and report how long you rest with a horizontal line. Use the "on-duty but not driving" row to report time spent on activities such as loading and unloading. Above each horizontal line, write how many consecutive hours you spent on that activity.
Filling in the Details
Draw a line down to the Remarks section and report what you did and where you were each time you changed activities. If your log shows you went off-duty from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., for example, you may report you were having dinner. List the city or town and state, and record the nearest milepost or highway to ensure accuracy, advises the Truckers Report website.
After each 24-hour period you must calculate how much time you spent on each type of activity. Report your totals on the right side of the form. You must account for all hours in the day. Return to the top of the form and report how many miles you drove.
You and your co-driver must sign each entry. Remember, you are held responsible for log book compliance and accuracy, not the the carrier.