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Why Are Truck Drivers Falsifying Their Logbooks? What Is Being Done About It?

Posted in Logbook Violations on December 18, 2017

Year after year the most common violations by truck drivers found during road checks are what are known as hours of service violations. The law sets very strict rules for the hours that truck drivers may spend on duty, hours that may be spent driving, and hours of rest they must take between shifts. These laws protect all of us from the dangers of fatigued truck drivers, who pose a greater risk of causing an accident that can result in catastrophic consequences for all involved. When those requirements are not met, many truck drivers turn to falsifying their logbooks in order to cover up the infraction.

There Are Alarming Numbers of Infractions!

During a recent international roadcheck inspection campaign, inspectors placed 908 drivers out of service. Almost 47% of those orders were for hours of service violations and 16% were for falsified logs. Keep in mind that this inspection campaign happens annually, and drivers know when it is taking place. The fact that so many violations are caught during this campaign is a cause for alarm.

So why are there so many Logbook Infractions?

Below is a breakdown of some of the common reasons for the logbook violations:

#1. Not Every Minute Can Be Logged

The laws for hours of service can be confusing at times. A driver is allowed 11 hours of driving time during 14 hours of being on duty. A truck driver waiting on a truck to load and unload is still on duty, but is not accumulating driving hours. It is possible then, for a driver to reach the 14 hours on duty while still not having driven 11 hours. As professional drivers, however, they have the responsibility to be aware of their hours and take the necessary safety precautions.

#2. It’s Pay by the Mile

Truck drivers are generally paid by the mile. There is a real financial incentive for the truck driver to keep rolling down the highway. When a driver reaches the legal limit for the number of hours that can be safely driven, there can be a temptation to push further than they should to gain a little more pay.

#3. Maintenance Costs Add Up

Many truck drivers not only operate the truck they drive, but own their rigs as well. Vehicle payments, insurance payments, and regular maintenance costs come due regardless of how much or how little the driver has driven that month. This creates further pressure for a driver to push beyond the legal limits and then cover it up by falsifying the logbooks.

#4. Tight Shipping Deadlines

The shipping company has a lot of pressure to get their deliveries to their destination as soon as possible. This pressure filters down directly onto the professionals who drive the trucks carrying those deliveries. Additionally, the carrier the driver works for may push for them to achieve a destination within a certain period of time. Rewards and incentives are often based on the truck driver’s ability to meet those demands.

What Is Being Done About Falsified Logbooks?

Events like the annual roadcheck inspection campaign help deter drivers from violating the hours of service laws. Inspectors are trained to recognize how many miles a truck can actually travel during a period of time and spot when a logbook entry doesn’t line up with reality.

Electronic logbooks are becoming increasingly common. These not only make it easier for a driver to keep accurate records of their hours of service, but also make falsifying their entries more difficult.

Professional truck drivers have a responsibility to operate their rigs in a safe manner for everyone on the road. Violating hours of service and falsifying logbooks creates greater risks- not only for the truck drivers, but for all of us that share the roads and freeways with the truckers every single day. If we don’t put a stop to the logbook violations and hold them accountable for their actions, then we won’t be able to work to reduce the number and frequency of truck accidents every year.