What Is a Truck Driver’s Travel Log?
Posted on Friday, October 1st, 2021 at 11:12 pm
Large trucks travel great distances to carry the food, supplies, and other products that we rely on each day. Behind the wheel of every truck is a driver who is also required to travel long distances and spend many hours driving. These extended amounts of time on the road can cause truck drivers to become exhausted and even engage in fatigued driving. Because of the dangers of such circumstances, the United States Department of Transportation requires truck drivers to log all of their activity in an electronic logging device, or ELD.
The travel log is important as it keeps truck drivers accountable for adhering to federal regulations. In the event of an accident, a travel log can also be a key component in determining liability.
Federal Activity Logging Law
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that truck drivers “must follow three maximum duty limits at all times. They are the 14-hour “driving window” limit, 11-hour driving limit, and 60-hour/7-day and 70-hour/8-day duty limits.”
In addition, drivers “are only allowed to drive your truck for up to 11 total hours. Once [they] have driven a total of 11 hours, [they] have reached the driving limit and must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours (or equivalent) before driving [the] truck again.”
Electronic Logging Device
The Electronic Logging Device, or ELD, is where truck drivers log their activity. There are many metrics drivers are required to document so that they can be held accountable for abiding by federal guidelines for hours behind the wheel. A few examples of the data recorded on ELDs include:
- Amount of time since the last change of duty
- Amount of time since the driver’s last break
- Miles traveled in one shift
- Start and stop locations
- Amount of time the driver spent sleeping
- Locations of any changes of duty
- Carrier and shipping information of the truck
- Driver’s credentials and license number
The Electronic Logging Device can also play an important role in determining liability, which can have a significant impact on the level of compensation to which each party is entitled. Should a truck driver cause an accident because of a failure to follow federal regulations for hours spent behind the wheel, such an error will be documented in the ELD. This documented evidence could be key in determining the driver’s negligence.
Negligence is generally defined by a motorist’s action (or lack thereof) that creates a hazardous environment or brings harm to another party. Examples of potentially negligent parties in a large truck accident include:
- A truck driver whose failure to get the proper amount of rest caused an accident
- A trucking company whose failure to enforce federal regulations caused an accident
- A loading company whose failure to properly load cargo onto a large truck caused an accident
- A manufacturer or repair company whose failure to fix malfunctioning or defective parts on a large truck caused an accident
Any one of these parties might be considered negligent in a large truck accident, and proof of their negligence would likely be documented in the ELD. In the state of Texas, liability is determined based on each party’s level of negligence. Because Texas is a comparative negligence state, even if you are partially liable, you will still be able to seek compensation for the percentage of the accident for which you were not found liable, up to 50 percent.
Fraud and Noncompliance
Because the ELD contains potentially incriminating information for truck drivers and/or trucking companies who fail to observe federal regulations, truckers and trucking companies sometimes attempt to tamper with this data in order to avoid liability. A few common examples of such noncompliance include:
- Falsifying hours spent driving
- Adjusting distances traveled so that the same distance appears for each day
- Information from the shipping company is inconsistent with the ELD data
- Hours spent driving are inconsistent with miles traveled
Need Help? Call Portner Bond, PLLC Today
If you or someone you love has been wrongfully injured in an accident involving a large truck, you know how difficult it can be to deal with the devastating effects of such an incident. The personal injury attorneys at Portner Bond, PLLC are well-equipped to help you stand up to the trucking company and seek the compensation you deserve.
Are you ready to pursue restitution for your injuries? Call Portner Bond, PLLC today at (409) 838-4444. We’ll put you in contact with one of our attorneys for a free consultation where we can help you determine the next best steps in your journey toward justice.