Did you know that truckers have logbooks? The purpose of the logbook is to ensure that a driver is taking enough breaks between work periods. The driver would need to create a log that details when he or she was on the road, and when he or she was taking a break. This keeps drivers in compliance with the Federal hours-of-service (HOS) rules.
All truckers are required to keep track of this information because it is necessary for those that drive trucks to get enough rest between their shifts. (You can see examples of the logbooks here.) There is a maximum number of hours that a driver can work before they are required to rest for a certain amount of time. For example, a truck driver will need to rest for at least 10 hours straight before heading back out on the road. Once on the road, the driver may remain behind the wheel for up to 11 hours before another rest period is required.
Of course, not all truck drivers will sleep for the 10-hour rest period. Often, truck accidents are caused by drivers who were overworked and overly tired. Drivers fall asleep behind the wheel, or their attention slips, or their reflexes fail, leading to a crash.
How does it help with accident cases?
After an accident with a commercial truck, one of the first things the lawyer will want to review is the trucker’s logbook. As most of these logbooks are done through software programs, it is easy to see exactly when the driver said he or she was on the road, and compare the logs with the event data recorders (also called “black box” recorders) in commercial trucks. EDRs “may record (1) pre-crash vehicle dynamics and system status, (2) driver inputs, (3) vehicle crash signature, (4) restraint usage/deployment status, and (5) post-crash data such as the activation of an automatic collision notification (ACN) system,” per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
While EDRs do not record resting times, like logbooks, they provide information about the moments before the crash to see if the driver attempted to slow down – as most drivers would – in the seconds right before the crash. If the EDR shows no slowing down, and the logbook reflects that the driver had gone several hours before his or her last rest, one could make an argument that the driver was fatigued at the time of the crash.
Logbooks also show what kinds of routes the driver has been driving. If a truck driver routinely travels from Point A to Point B, but the crash occurred at Point C, it could help prove that:
- The driver was potentially unfamiliar with a new route
- The driver had deviated from the expected route
This information could also help prove that the driver was in error, and therefore liable for your injuries, or that the trucking company itself should be held accountable, too.
Did a truck driver cause an accident that left you injured? Do you believe the truck driver was overly tired and in the wrong when the accident took place? If so, the logbook can prove a critical piece of information to support your claim. At Gainsberg Law, we help victims of truck accidents in the Chicago area. Call us today at 312-600-9585 or complete our contact form and schedule your free consultation today.