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Truck drivers can be considered negligent for inaccurate logbooks

Every time someone gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, he or she accepts a major responsibility. Seasoned drivers may not consider this when they prepare to drive, but it's no less true. For commercial truck drivers, this is especially important -- considering the sheer number of miles they’re likely to put on every year.

In order to maintain safety, truckers are limited to a certain number of hours on the road, which also coincides with mandatory rest periods. In order to ensure that big rig rivers adhere to these rules, they are required to keep a log of the time they spend on the road.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes the logbook guidelines and helps to enforce them. Drivers must keep a record of their activity everyday and account for every hour of the day. The federal agency requires drivers to keep track of their hours on any day they were acting in their commercial driving capacity, in addition to the seven days beforehand. Inaccurate records can result in fines or suspension from service.

In some cases, big rig drivers have electronic logging systems, but other drivers still record their hours by hand. Either way, the books are legally required to be up to date and honest.

The unfortunate reality is that truckers or their employers might feel inclined to bend service regulations by keeping inaccurate logs. Staying on the road for too many hours can obviously lead to driver fatigue, which is a major safety hazard. Failing to adhere to federal hour and logbook regulations can be considered negligence. Any accidents related to these violations can put drivers or their employers in a position to be held liable for damages.

Realistically, accident victims or their loved ones may not know what to look for or do in the wake of a big rig accident. In some cases, it may be necessary to conduct an investigation to determine if federal rules were ignored. This kind of insight can prove to be immensely beneficial for those impacted by the crash.

Source: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Interstate Truck Driver's Guide to Hours of Service," accessed March 17, 2014

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