Due to the sheer weight and size of large commercial trucks, they have the potential to cause major damage in a collision. Because of their destructive power, the U.S. government keeps trucking companies and their drivers highly regulated, including the mandatory use of logbooks. Trucking companies must keep an accurate record of the amount of time their drivers are on the road, how many miles they’ve driven, and where their shipments are going.
These books often become important evidence when a truck accident occurs. For example, a Los Angeles truck accident attorney will carefully scrutinize a company’s logs, looking for incriminating information, if someone suffers serious injuries in a truck accident and is seeking compensation. The U.S. Department of Transportation also requests to see trucking company logbooks when conducting audits.
Trucking Logbook Requirements
Drivers operating commercial vehicles are required to track their status during each 24-hour period using an official form or an onboard recording device. They must include information about the truck stop, city, village, or other location when reporting for work, going on duty (without driving), starting to drive, or ending their workday.
By using these strict regulations, the government prevents truckers from working too many hours in a 24-hour period. Truck drivers are often pressured to meet exceedingly tight shipping deadlines, leading them to drive excess hours without a rest in years past. Not only was it hazardous to a driver’s health, it also increased the chances of having a serious accident.
Even with stringent regulations, some truck companies encourage drivers to break the rules and falsify records, so they can be on the road longer than allowed by federal law. Driving while fatigued has been shown to be almost as dangerous as driving under the influence, and falling asleep at the wheel can lead to disaster due to the size of an average semi-truck.
Common Logbook Errors
The most common logbook error is when a driver fails to list the exact times they hit the road, took a break or finished a job. Another common problem is issues regarding unevenly loaded or overloaded trailers which may cause a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle.
Also, by failing to log any work or maintenance checks done on the vehicle before the trip starts, a trucking company may be found liable for injuries produced from accidents caused by poorly maintained or defective parts. A Los Angeles truck accident attorney can check for discrepancies when investigating a case.
In some situations, a trucking company won’t hang onto their drivers’ duty status records for as long as federal regulations require. By law, they must hold onto these records for at least six months, with drivers carrying records for the last seven days on their person to be produced for inspection immediately upon request. Original status records must also be sent to a driver’s employer within 13 days of completion.
If you’ve suffered from an injury in a serious accident with a commercial big-rig, contact with a Los Angeles truck accident attorney at Compass Law Group, LLP. We’ll help you determine whether there are any logbook errors that may have contributed to the collision. If any are found, they may help prove what or who was at fault, so you can successfully pursue compensation.