Trucking accidents come in all forms—some are due to pure driver negligence and then there are some caused by not so unintentional means. They can be blatant with full intent to work around the laws in place to keep the roadways safe. Part of these laws (specifically Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Section 395.8) includes keeping track of each driver’s hours of service in the form of logbooks.
Logbooks require that drivers record four different types of their work activity on a daily basis—hours of off-duty, sleeper berth, driving, and on-duty and not driving time. The laws outline maximum time on-duty and driving for truckers and are meant to reduce the number of fatigued drivers on the road, thus reducing the number of accidents caused by some of those fatigued drivers.
Some truck drivers and even trucking companies cover up abuse of these regulations by creating or allowing fake logbooks. In some cases, truck drivers create duplicate logs in case they’re pulled over unexpectedly and need to present their book. Other drivers fill out their logbooks later on, which is the most common method. A truck driver more often than not may choose to fill out the logbook when necessary for company purposes and often do on a weekly basis. Backtracking instead ensures that the truck driver never divulges a violation of service regulations to their employer.
The fact that some truck drivers would go to such lengths to cheat on their records begs the question of why they’d want to cheat in the first place, right? A few reasons come down to shipping delays that mess up the truck driver’s planned route, a desire to spend more time at home and overdriving to get there, the fact that truck drivers are often paid by the mile and not by hours worked (leading them to want to drive further each day), and a failure to keep up with daily log entries, which often leads to later inaccurate recording that is written to comply with the regulations and not reflect the actual driving that took place.
Unfortunately, one of the ways these cheating drivers often get caught is by getting into a serious accident. An injury or wrongful death crash spurs an investigation by law enforcement and often attorneys as well and usually this is where fraudulent log entries come to light. The involved truck driver’s logbooks are compared to shipping documents and any available blackbox data on newer trucks. Other ways false logs can be discovered are through the use of electronic logbooks and unexpected inspections.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a trucking accident, contact us today for a free evaluation.
Image source: The Balance