Truck drivers can be under intense pressure to skirt the rules set down by the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding how many hours a driver is allowed to drive in any one stretch of time. These Hours of Service regulations came into being because drivers were often behind the wheel and on the road well past the point of fatigue—endangering everyone on the road. It wasn’t uncommon to hear stories about drivers falling asleep at the wheel after too many hours or days on the road without a break.
In order to ensure compliance with the rules, truckers are required to keep log books for every 24-hour period of duty. Unfortunately, what’s in the log book and real life don’t always match up.
Companies sometimes still push drivers to extend their hours and ask them to lie in the log books or keep two books. Drivers who work for themselves are also often tempted to exceed the regulations because every hour on the road is more money in their pockets.
Attorneys experienced with truck driving accidents are sensitive to the possibility of falsified logs—but what signs are they looking for? There are several things that could indicate that a log has been falsified:
—The log is behind by anywhere from a few hours to a full day. When a trucker’s duty log isn’t being kept hourly, that’s a good reason to question whether or not the driver is being truthful.
—The log is composed of loose-leaf sheets instead of a bound book. That makes it easier to replace one sheet with another when necessary.
—There are identical entries for runs that occur on different days. While a driver may make regular deliveries to certain customers, the traffic conditions, weather and any number of other factors should cause variations in the time that a driver reaches his or her destination.
—Extra mileage squeezed inside travel times. A driver may try to hide his or her extra mileage inside hours that fit the rules. However, when you compare the amount of miles to the time traveled, it’s easy to see that it wouldn’t be possible to travel that many miles within that amount of time.
An observant attorney can turn the signs of a falsified log into a powerful piece of evidence for your case if you’ve been injured in a devastating accident with a truck.
Source: www.fmcsa.dot.gov, “49 CFR Parts 300-399,” accessed Dec. 09, 2016