Representing injured victims and
their families since 1952

What Is a Truck Driver’s Travel Log?

Posted on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021 at 3:56 pm    

Truck accident claims involve many pieces of documentation and evidence. The government requires truck drivers and trucking companies to keep many different types of records. One of the types of records that truck drivers are required to keep is a document known as a travel log. If you have a truck accident claim, you should learn more about truck driver travel logs and how they may be useful in your case. Reach out to us today.

What Is a Logbook?

A logbook, sometimes called a driver’s log or travel log, refers to the records that commercial truck drivers are required to keep to log the hours they spend on duty and actively driving their vehicles. State and federal laws limit the hours that a commercial truck driver may spend on duty or driving. Drivers are limited in the number of consecutive hours they may drive, the total number of hours they may spend driving and on duty each day, and the number of hours they may spend on duty during a workweek. These laws also specify the minimum amount of time drivers must spend off duty and resting in between duty and driving periods.

Logbooks also contain other information such as:

  • When each 24-hour day begins for recording purposes
  • The total miles a driver has completed in a 24-hour window
  • The trucking company or companies the driver is working for
  • The driver’s home terminal, as well as the main office for the carrier or carriers they work for
  • The locations where any changes of duty occurred

The logbook allows a truck driver’s employer and state and federal officials to confirm that a driver has been following their hours of service limitations. Drivers (and the companies that employ them) may be subject to disciplinary action for drivers’ violations of the hours of service rules, including being removed from service until the mandatory off-duty/rest periods have been completed, fines, or even suspension of licenses.

truck driver behind the wheel

How Do Truck Drivers Keep Their Travel Logs?

Historically, truck drivers kept paper logs of their hours. However, since 2018, most commercial truck drivers are required to have electronic logging devices (ELDs) that record the hours they spend on duty and driving. These devices log when a truck’s engine is running and when the truck is moving, as well as some other data. The ELD is not a complete record, though, so a trucker is still required to maintain a paper logbook, as well. If you have pressing questions about your case, contact us immediately.

Why Are Truck Drivers’ Travel Logs Important?

Truck drivers’ travel logs allow regulators to ensure that truck drivers are following the hours of service rules and getting sufficient rest and sleep. Truck driving can be physically and mentally taxing for any driver, especially because drivers already spend hours per day on the road, often for multiple days at a time.

A truck driver who exceeds the hours of service limits runs the risk of becoming drowsy or fatigued while behind the wheel. A drowsy or fatigued driver poses a hazard to others on the road, since tiredness and fatigue can impair a driver’s reaction times, perception, and judgment, or may even cause them to nod off or fall asleep. Thus, truck driver travel logs help ensure that commercial trucks continue to be safely operated on public roads.

Using a Truck Driver’s Travel Log in a Truck Accident Case

In addition to ensuring that truck drivers safely operate their vehicles, truck driver travel logs may also play an important role in a truck accident claim. While violating the hours of service rules by itself does not necessarily constitute negligence, a travel log may constitute evidence that a truck driver may have been drowsy or fatigued at the time of a crash if the driver had exceeded their hours of service limits.

Unfortunately, some truck drivers and trucking companies may try to conceal evidence that a driver’s fatigue caused or contributed to a truck accident by altering or destroying travel logs. Although electronic logs can make it difficult for drivers and trucking companies to alter the evidence, if evidence of tampering is found that may constitute spoliation of evidence. When that occurs, if your truck accident case goes to trial you may be entitled to an adverse inference, or a legal presumption that the logs would have included evidence unfavorable to the truck driver or the trucking company.

trucks at a truck stop

Contact The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs If You Were Involved in a Truck Crash

If you have been injured in a truck accident in Washington state that wasn’t your fault, call the Lakewood truck accident lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs at (253) 588-6696 or fill out our website contact form for a free initial consultation. Let our truck accident attorneys help you understand your legal rights and options and discuss what our firm can do to help you pursue financial recovery and accountability from the trucking company at fault for your injuries.

Why Is the Black Box Important in Truck Accidents?

Posted on Friday, October 15th, 2021 at 2:20 pm    

Each year, hundreds of people across the nation are injured in large truck accidents. Because it takes them longer to stop and they have large blind spots on all sides, large trucks can often cause devastating accidents. In order to keep truck drivers and the trucking companies that hire them accountable for a driver’s behavior behind the wheel, many trucks now contain black boxes.

There are several important things to know about black boxes installed in large trucks. From the way they function to the data they collect, these devices can be an important element in determining negligence and liability in a large truck accident case. If you or someone you love has been injured in a large truck accident, seek medical attention for your injuries and contact one of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs’s personal injury attorneys to discuss your circumstances.

headon truck accident

What Does the Black Box Do?

The black box is a device installed in large trucks in order to collect data. There are two types of black boxes, an ELD (Electronic Logging Device) and an EDR (Event Data Recorder). Trucks are required to contain an ELD, but not an EDR.

The data from a black box can be helpful in an investigation, should you or your attorney seek to prove a truck driver or trucking company was liable for an accident. Some examples of the metrics the black box gathers include:

  • The truck’s speed
  • The driver’s breaks
  • The length of a driving period (both in time and in distance)
  • The truck’s tire pressure
  • The driver’s use of a seatbelt
  • The truck’s GPS location
  • The vehicle tilt
  • The truck’s braking activity

Crash Liability

Determining liability is contingent upon several factors, one of which is negligence. In most cases, negligence is defined by an action, or lack of action, that can bring harm to another party. Negligence in large truck accidents can occur in several ways.

Any of the following parties may be considered negligent in a large truck accident:

  • The truck driver whose failure to obey traffic laws caused an accident
  • The trucking company whose insurance covers an at-fault driver
  • The trucking company that hired an underqualified driver
  • The cargo loading company whose lack of proper loading caused cargo to fall
  • The company responsible for maintaining the truck who failed to ensure fully functioning equipment
  • The municipal body responsible for road and roadside conditions which caused an accident

In many cases, a party will be considered liable to the same degree to which they are found to have been negligent. In the state of Washington, parties are able to pursue as much compensation as they are entitled to. Even if you were 99 percent at fault for the accident, you could still recover one percent of the damages the accident caused you from the at-fault party’s insurance company.

For example, if you are entitled to $90,000 for damages sustained in a large truck accident but are found to have been 30 percent liable, you’d be eligible to collect only $60,000.

wrecked truck

Tampering with Black Box Data

Even though a black box is intended to collect enough data to be informative in the event of an accident, trucking companies can attempt to hide or even destroy this evidence. As you might expect, this data can be an important part of a truck accident case, as it may prove a truck driver or trucking company’s liability in an accident.

Trucking companies may attempt to tamper with this data in several ways. They may have the black box reset or the truck repaired before the injured party is able to gather evidence. The company may even attempt to destroy the box and its data.

How The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs Can Help

Dealing with injuries and damages from a large truck accident can be an extremely difficult process. If you or someone you love has been injured in one of these accidents, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Fortunately, the personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs are prepared to help you through the process of communicating with insurance companies, gathering evidence, and strategizing so that you can build a compelling truck accident case.

Don’t allow one more thing to stand between you and the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured in a large truck accident, call The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs today at (253) 588-6696, or reach out to us online. We’ll connect you with one of our personal injury attorneys so that you can determine the best course of action in your truck accident case and begin your journey towards justice today.