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What Is a Truck Driver’s Travel Log?

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to compensation. These damages awarded by the court or negotiated with the insurance company can help cover the cost of medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages if you are out of work.

Commercial trucks are many times larger and heavier than personal vehicles. This disparity in size and weight often results in severe property damage and sometimes catastrophic injuries. When a truck accident is not your fault, you should not have to bear the financial burden that follows.

What Does a Truck Driver’s Travel Log Contain?

Before December 2017, truck drivers were required to manually record their hours of service. These hours of service are mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Federal limitations on a trucker’s hours of service are designed to reduce the risk that drivers who are exhausted will cause accidents. The stipulations set by the FMCSA help limit the number of hours a truck driver is allowed behind the wheel or on duty.

  • 11-hour driving limit: A truck driver is allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours after ten consecutive hours off duty.
  • 14-hour limit: A driver may not drive beyond 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty after ten consecutive hours off duty.
  • 30-minute break: Drivers must take at least a 30-minute break after driving eight cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption. Any non-driving period of 30 consecutive minutes satisfies this rule.
  • 60/70-hour limit: Drivers may not drive more than 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days. The 7/8 consecutive period restarts after a driver has had 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.

Since December 2017, all commercial trucks have been required to use an electronic logging device (ELD) that takes the place of a manually recorded paper log. Drivers may still use paper logbooks as a backup in case there’s an equipment malfunction.

The ELD was congressionally mandated and intended to help create a safer work environment. The device also makes it easier to accurately track, manage, and share records. The ELD communicates with the truck’s onboard computer to automatically record driving time and help drivers comply with the FMCSA hours of service requirements.

Why Is a Travel Log Important After an Accident?

The travel log contains valuable information that can be used after an accident to help determine whether the driver was over the limit of hours they are allowed to drive. Drowsy driving was responsible for at least 91,000 crashes and 50,000 injuries in 2017. Roughly half of Americans admit they consistently get behind the wheel while sleepy, and nearly 20 percent admit to having fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past year.

Drowsy driving creates physiological responses that are similar to driving under the influence of alcohol. Reaction times are slowed, and drivers have difficulty maintaining attention and focus. Going more than 20 hours without sleep is equivalent to driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08%, which is the U.S. legal limit. Data also shows that people who are drowsy are three times more likely to be in a car crash.

A truck driver’s ELD will automatically record the truck’s:

  • Date, time, and location information
  • Engine hours
  • Vehicle miles
  • Identification information for the driver
  • Authenticated user
  • Vehicle motion status
  • Motor carrier

Additionally, the driver must also manually write a record of duty status (RODS). The driver must complete one every 24 hours. Failure to complete the RODS or knowingly falsify the log opens the driver and carrier to prosecution. The RODS contains information about on-duty activities other than driving. For example, the log will have information about the driver’s breaks, tire checks, load checks, and meals. This information is required to show the driver is in compliance with the requirements for the hours of service regulations.

Each of these pieces of information is important and may help support your case. Drivers who knowingly attempt to falsify data can be prosecuted, and their company may be held responsible. Even when a driver is operating within the hours-of-service limitations, an investigation may reveal they were not sleeping during their off-duty hours.

Contact the Law Office of William J. Luse, Inc. Accident & Injury Lawyers Today for Help After a Truck Accident

After an accident with a commercial truck, you may be facing a long period of recovery. The trucking company will be legally represented and you should be, too. The trucking company’s insurance company may initially send an insurance adjuster to ask questions. They may also offer an early settlement.

These insurance adjusters are expert negotiators and seek to limit the financial liability of their company. Don’t speak with an insurance adjuster without your attorney present. This can help prevent you from inadvertently saying something that could negatively affect your case.

The experienced legal team at the Law Office of William J. Luse, Inc. Accident & Injury Lawyers will fight tenaciously to protect your legal rights. It is our mission to help you receive fair compensation for injuries you received through the negligence of others. Call our offices today at (843) 839-4795 for a confidential legal consultation.


Why Is the Black Box Important in Truck Accidents?

A black box is a device found in many motor vehicles, such as cars and commercial trucks, as well as in some aircraft. It records a range of data just before an accident. Securing the black box, also referred to as an event data recorder, after a truck accident is critical so the information it contains can be reviewed to determine whether the truck driver’s actions contributed to the crash.

Collisions involving commercial trucks are often catastrophic. Even low-speed crashes can cause massive property damage and debilitating injuries. The significant size difference between a truck and a passenger car increases the risk of harm to the occupants of the smaller vehicle. You could pursue compensation from the truck driver if they were at fault for the crash. However, adequate evidence to prove liability is required.

What Is a Black Box?

Installing an event data recorder in commercial trucks is not a legal requirement. Some motor carriers might decide to install these devices in their fleet of vehicles to review information regarding their truck drivers’ trips. The data shows specific information leading up to an accident, including the trucker’s actions.

The data recorded by a black box depends on the manufacturer, but many include this information:

  • Whether the truck driver wore their seat belt
  • The speed of the truck right before the crash
  • Tire pressure
  • Whether the airbags deployed in the accident
  • How many times the vehicle was involved in a crash, and how long between those incidents
  • The speed the truck was traveling in the seconds before the collision occurred
  • Whether the driver was using cruise control
  • The number of hard stops made in the truck, including the RPM between each stop
  • Whether the truck driver applied their brakes
  • Data showing whether the trucker violated any federal regulations, such as exceeding the maximum number of driving hours allowed in a shift
  • Daily or monthly activity for the truck
  • GPS information to determine the location of the vehicle
  • Communication between the truck driver and their employer, such as emails discussing driver fatigue, mechanical problems, and additional relevant information
  • The frequency of the trucker driving above a predetermined speed limit

Besides reviewing the information in the event data recorder, the truck driver’s logbook could also provide details about what happened before the crash.

For example, truckers are supposed to log the number of hours they drive, how much time they spend off duty, and the number of breaks they take during a twenty-four-hour period. Obtaining the black box and logbook could prove that the truck driver should be liable for an injured person’s medical care and other losses.

Why It’s Important to Preserve the Black Box

Many new event data recorder models will store data for as long as four weeks before recording over the data with new information. However, an old model might record over the data in as little as a few days. There’s no way to know the type of model in the truck involved in the accident you were in. Additionally, some trucking companies might alter the data or destroy the device entirely to get rid of evidence that their truck driver caused a crash. So, securing the black box as soon as possible is crucial.

You should hire an experienced truck accident lawyer to assist you with the process of securing the event data recorder information. Your lawyer can send the motor carrier a letter to notify them of the impending legal action and request that they preserve any evidence related to the collision, including the black box.

While investigating the circumstances of the crash, your legal team can review the data stored in the event data recorder to determine whether the truck driver’s action caused the accident.

If the information shows the trucker exceeded the maximum driving limit, it could indicate they were tired and maybe fell asleep at the wheel. If the black box data shows the truck driver was speeding right before the collision, that could prove their reckless behavior resulted in your injuries.

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer

If you were involved in a truck accident due to the truck driver’s negligent actions, you should contact the Law Office of William J. Luse, Inc. Accident & Injury Lawyers immediately. We are familiar with cases like yours and the strategies that can be used to prove someone else should be held responsible for the harm you suffered.

When you hire us, we will use our extensive resources to gather all available evidence, including the event data recorder, to show that your injuries resulted from the truck accident. We can file a claim on your behalf and negotiate an adequate settlement with the insurance company or take your case to court if necessary.

Call the Law Office of William J. Luse, Inc. Accident & Injury Lawyers at (843) 839-4795 today if you suffered injuries in a truck accident in Myrtle Beach. One of our truck accident lawyers can meet you for a free consultation to discuss your case and advise you about your legal options for pursuing compensation from the at-fault party.

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