How to Fill Out a Truck Driver Log Book

Truck driving can prove rewarding for those who can handle long periods away from home. On top of working extraneous hours, truckers have to meet tight deadlines exasperated with pressure by their superiors. In addition, they must meet strict regulations outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), including the accurate recording of hours worked in a designated DOT log book. A DOT log book contains records jotted down by truckers who detail their activities over the course of 24 hours. According to the log book rules, truckers must keep track of their location and time spent on and off duty. Each trucker must fill out these forms thoroughly and accurately or else they face harsh consequences. Falsifying any information in the DOT log book can make the driver liable of prosecution. The federal regulations required in the Hours of Service (HOS) forms guarantee that drivers will acquire the rest they need before hitting the road again.

How To Fill Out the Truck Drivers Log Book

Truckers may find it fairly easy to fill a drivers log book once they know the basics. The contents of a truck driver log book include the date, name of carrier, truck number, and the total number of miles driven within a 24-hour period. If the driver used more than one vehicle, then it must also be reported in the trucking log book. After filing the basic contents of the drivers log book, truckers can move beyond the skeleton of the form. Drivers should report the starting time of the 24-hour period, the names of all co-drivers, and the shipping document that specifies the carrier and commodity being transported. State the point of origination in the “from” line. In addition, write the destination in the “to” line.

During the drive, truckers must track their activities by inputting their progress on the graph grid. The graph grid contains a box for each hour of the day. It also has marked areas divided into fifteen minute intervals. The graph grid also provides four lines to help drivers indicate their activities. For instance, a driver may indicate that they are off-duty, sleeping, driving, or on duty and not driving. Truckers should record their duties using a straight line passing through the center of the activity line. It should start from the beginning time to the end of the duty being executed. The Hours of Service (HOS) log book rules vary according to the type of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and objects or subjects being transported. For instance, drivers transporting property may drive a maximum of 11 hours after taking 10 consecutive hours off. Drivers who transport passengers may drive a maximum of 10 hours after taking 8 consecutive hours off.

Drivers should draw a vertical line from the first mark of the previous duty to the next line. Continue to draw the horizontal line for the current duty until it becomes necessary to draw the next vertical line. Be sure to leave comments in the remarks section after completing each duty, especially the time, date, and location. Specify the city, town, village, and state. In fact, record the nearest milepost and highway for pinpoint accuracy. All drivers should fill out their truck driver log book in this fashion. Count the number of hours and re-check to see if it equals 24. Correct all mathematical and grammatical errors to make it as accurate as possible. Be sure to write legibly when recording information in a trucking log book.

Take the Log Book Rules and Regulations Seriously

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces their rules and regulations. Drivers should record their activities in their truckers log book to avoid penalties. Under section 395.8, drivers must preserve a record of their activities in their trucking log book. Drivers who make false reports may face liable prosecution for their actions. A signature confirmation certifies the accurate reporting of activities, making the driver responsible for updating their status as it happens. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will not hold carriers responsible if the driver decides to sign the trucking log book, even if they were “forced” to do so.

Many Hate and Love the Log Book Rules and Regulations

Drivers tend to crack jokes about keeping accurate records in their truckers log book. Many feel that they can handle the road without having silly rules and regulations interfering with their progress. In fact, many feel pressured into arriving early enough to make more money. Others want to avoid getting docked for arriving late. Contrary to popular opinion, the truckers log book protects the driver against runners fatigue. Studies suggest that drivers become less alert to crisis situations when they exceed their driving limits. This may lead to dangers of falling asleep behind the wheel or reacting slowly when it matters the most.

When the Pressure is On

Drivers who feel pressured to break the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations to appease the shipping carrier should consider the priority at hand. Drivers sign their truckers log book, making them liable for breaking the rules. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) holds the signer responsible for the contents within the truck driver log book. This makes it imperative for the driver to speak up when a carrier demands that they meet their deadline in an unreasonable amount of time. Drivers who encounter carriers who hassle them to break their Hours of Service (HOS) should tell the carrier that they will not break the rules and regulations. Drivers who dissent against the demands of the shipping carrier fall under the protections of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA).

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27 comments. Add a comment.

    • Mike says

      There is an excellent logbook free for apple Iphones but you still have to print it out every day since you must have previous 8 days on paper. If you are home every night, this works great. Printing is done from your computer after syncing. If you are gone multiple days like me its not so helpful. I wish the feds would accept electronic logbooks that are not wired to the vehicle.

  1. Luna says

    I need verification. On the from and to section at the bottom of grid, my home terminal is vaiden, pick up a load in kosciusko and go to birmingham and back to kosciusko and then back to home terminal. should it just read kosciusko to birmingham?

    • mike says

      “From” is your start place and “to” is the furthest point you travel out. So another words, your turn around town.

      • kirk says

        “From” and “To” are not required by the FMSCA to be filled in. As always, give them as little info as possible, so they have less info to hang you with. Just sayin’.

  2. Monty Darkis says

    Can a driver log “into the future”? For example; at the end of your shift, you finish your shift at 6:00 PM and go ahead and finish out the rest of the day showing sleeper birth.

  3. Lindy says

    I shuttle RV’S. I don’t go over 137 miles loaded and I’m at home every night. Do I still need to fill out a log sheet?

    • Steve says

      1. Drive over hrs, 1/2 hr breaks before your 8 hrs is up
      2. Your not driving over 11 hrs a day
      3. And your time and place is correct
      4. That your doing post- trips.

      5. No log books if you don’t need CDL lic to drive it

    • Kris says

      I believe there is a 150 mile rule. But I would carry one just to be safe. too many DOT officers have different versions of 150 miles.

    • Tim says

      The major rule for your kind of shuttle work is, is if you work within 100 AIR MILES, not ground miles, all you have to do is keep a time sheet and copies of your fuel. Look it up, I am correct on this one due to the fact I used to run mail.

  4. says

    I’ve been on sick leave for 6 weeks. I know I have to log off duty not driving. My question is I use a loose leaf log book, so do I need to log every 24 hrs off duty for the whole time or can I combine the hrs off duty on less log sheets?

  5. bart says

    I need clarification on 2 issues.
    1. On the far right “RECAP” is it necessary / required to fill out everything, or it simply filling out the top entry ok. I’ve been told that not every block needs to be filled out for normal use (traditionally I log less than 60 hour in a week using 70 rule)

    2. If I am at a shipper/receiver and my only responsibility is to sign the bills and check security of the load what is the actual log requirement? Normally I’m either in my truck or in a break room until load/unloading is done.

  6. andrew driver says

    thank you for the advice I’m getting ready to start a new job over the road and I do not want to get fined from dot at the scales

  7. Mike says

    Do I need to have an 8 day back log if I only go out of town once or twice a year? The rest of the time I am local…

  8. Bill Higdon says

    I am “On Call” in rotation and on those particular nights, I am to drive the truck home, OFF THE CLOCK. Should the drive time from work to home(and then back again in the AM, also OFF the clock) be logged as “DRIVING” or “OFF DUTY”? I am OFF DUTY, but I am still DRIVING… confused. Please clarify.

  9. Hammer lane dave says

    Hey I was wondering can I log a drop and hook and a pre trip in a 15 min on duty not driving after my 30 min break I do a drop and hook meet and it doesn’t take a half hour to drop and hook and do a pre trip

  10. Gloria sockness says

    Do I need to run a log book when I am empty? I haul RVs . if I take the placards off the truck when I dropped?

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