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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration administers log book requirements for all U.S. states. Some exceptions to federal law apply to Texas drivers, however, as detailed in the state's Transportation and Administrative Codes administered and enforced by the state's Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety, respectively. Together, state and federal laws spell out what truck drivers must record in log books, under what circumstances, when and how.
With some exceptions, all operators of commercial motor vehicles must keep a detailed daily log recording their duty status and other specified details, officially called the "Driver's Record of Duty Status," and known unofficially as a log book. Exceptions under federal law include drivers operating at a distance of less than 100 miles from their home terminal for interstate operations; recording of hours for drivers using automatic on-board recording devices; and operations not requiring a commercial driver's license.
Log Book Specifics
Log book entries provide evidence of a driver's compliance with all federal and state commercial motor carrier rules and regulations. The motor carrier must retain this record for each driver for a minimum of six months, and drivers must keep in their possession a copy showing a minimum of the daily record for the previous seven consecutive days. Log books must be made available on request to the FMCSA and/or other law enforcement officials. Incomplete entries, failing to keep a record, or failing to produce a log book on request leaves a driver and/or motor carrier open to prosecution, and may result in fines, license suspension or revocation or other punitive measures.
Record of Duty Status
Drivers must record hours spent in one or more of four categories -- Off duty, Sleeper berth, Driving or On-duty not driving -- using a graph grid as described in the law. All entries must also include the location where the driver reports for work, as well as the date, time and location of each change of status. The driver must tally total hours and miles driven, the tractor and truck numbers, the motor carrier's main office address, the name of any co-driver, and shipper and load information. The driver operating the vehicle must make and sign each entry.
Texas Law Exceptions
Texas law provides for exceptions from recording requirements for intrastate -- in the state of Texas -- operations for drivers operating within a 150-mile radius of their normal work-reporting location. Such drivers must report and return to that location within 12 hours, however, with at least an 8-hour separation between any consecutive 12-hour shifts. Also, the employer must keep a record of work hours, reporting times, and total time for the preceding week for all new or intermittent drivers.