Using a Driver’s Electronic Log Book as Evidence

Evidence like a trucker’s electronic log book is important if someone has been seriously injured in a truck accident and it’s believed the truck driver was at fault. Truckers are required to keep this log, and some are now using an electronic log instead of a paper one.

Information Contained in the Trucker’s Electronic Log Book

Whether paper or electronic, the driver’s log book, also known as a Record of Duty Status, contains logs indicating the consecutive number of hours the driver has been on duty and behind the wheel. It may help prove that a driver had violated the number of hours allowed behind the wheel.

The driver must indicate time spent:

  • off duty;

 

  • in the sleeper berth (place for resting/sleeping);
  • driving; and
  • on duty (but not driving).

The total number of hours for each of these four is also noted in the log book. There is additional information that must be included in a log book which could also be helpful after a truck accident. An example is the total miles driven. This may also help show if there was a violation with the amount of driving time allowed.

Requirements of a Driver’s Log book

Trucking industry rules are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It has specific requirements when it comes to the keeping of a log book. One is that drivers must record their duty status for each 24-hour period.

One of the concerns is that these records could be falsified. The driver and/or the trucking company could be subject to prosecution if these records aren’t preserved or they aren’t accurate.

Under FMCSA rules, the employer must maintain the records for a period of six months. A truck accident attorney may send a spoliation letter in order to advise the employer that no evidence is to be tampered with or destroyed, as the victim of the accident plans to file a claim or lawsuit.

Another requirement is that only the driver who is on duty should be making the entries in the log book. This holds him/her accountable for the data being recorded. It’s also required that the driver submits the log book to his/her employer within 13 days of completing it.

If someone from law enforcement responds to a truck accident and takes the original copy of the record of duty status, it is the responsibility of the driver to prepare a second original record as a replacement. A notation must indicate who took the original and under what circumstances it occurred.

How a Log Book Could Be Useful as Evidence after a Truck Accident

One of the common causes of a truck accident is driver fatigue. Because of this, FMCSA has enforced hours-of-service rules which mandate how long a driver can operate a commercial vehicle.

Going over those hours, whether by personal choice or when an employer requires it, is a serious violation and it may help substantiate the claim that a driver was drowsy at the time of the accident.

Of course, there is the potential for data in a log book to be altered. The best way to prevent this is by securing it as evidence as soon as possible. This is why it’s a good idea to contact an attorney immediately.

D.J. Banovitz’ career has always concentrated on trial practice and he has litigated hundreds of cases. His passion and sole career focus has been to seek justice for people suffering from personal injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence. The hallmark of the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz, is the total commitment to professionalism, quality, and personalized care of your injury case.

D.J. has dedicated his professional life to helping those most in need and is a proud and active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. His experience includes volunteering for Colorado Rural Legal Services in Montrose, the Colorado Aids Project, consumer law, family law, criminal defense, and Alternative Defense Counsel for juveniles in Denver.