What is a Truck Driver’s Logbook?

August 22, 2023

Truck drivers are fairly stringently regulated at both the state and federal levels. One of those regulations revolves around the driver’s daily and weekly hours of service (HOS). A driver’s hours of service used to be recorded in a paper log book, where the driver was responsible for recording their driving time throughout the day and week. However, since 2017, the vast majority of commercial truck drivers are required to have electronic logging devices (ELD) that are installed into the trucks and monitor the hours, as opposed to a paper log book.

What is the ELD?

Drivers were required to make the switch from paper logbooks to electronic logging devices on December 18, 2017. Now, paper logbooks can only be used if the ELD fails. Even then, the paper logbooks can only be used for up to 8 days after the ELD malfunction.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for certifying accepted ELDs, and they frequently certify new ELD companies and uncertified others.

Electronic logging devices ensure that drivers only operate their allowed hours of service, per FMCSA requirements. Drivers are only allowed to operate a certain amount of hours each day and during each work week, and the goal of these requirements is to reduce the chances commercial drivers will operate while fatigued on the roadway.

How the ELD Could Help After a Crash

In the event drivers or passengers are injured in an truck accident with a commercial truck in Martinsburg, West Virginia, there may be civil personal injury lawsuits that arise. The goal of these lawsuits is to hold any at-fault parties accountable for their actions so victims can recover compensation for their losses. These losses typically include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.

However, in order to recover compensation, victims have to prove that another party was negligent. Determining negligence involves gathering as much evidence as possible related to the crash. There are going to be copious amounts of evidence related to the accident involved in an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, including the electronic logging device.

When a skilled truck accident lawyer gets involved, they will work to recover the ELD data from the truck company or the owner-operator of the vehicle. This information will be used in conjunction with other records and evidence related to the vehicle accident to paint a picture of possible causes of the crash.

The ELD Can provide insight into the commercial truck driver’s driving habits during the day of the incident as well as the time frames leading up to the incident. An experienced Martinsburg accident lawyer will examine any patterns of the driver not following the hours of service set forth by federal regulators (often, drivers are encouraged to skirt these regulations by their employers or a supervisor).

We strongly encourage any person who has been involved in a truck crash to reach out to a West Virginia personal injury attorney as soon as possible. These claims are challenging, but a lawyer can use their resources to conduct a complete investigation into the incident on your behalf. They will handle all communication with other parties, including the insurance carriers and legal teams for the trucking company.


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