How to Keep a Trucker Log Book
Learning to keep a detailed log book is an essential skill required for every commercial truck driver. Well-documented log books can protect you in case of an accident, payroll dispute and in the event of a tax audit. Log books prove your whereabouts throughout your work day, the hours you worked and the miles you drove.
Not only does it protect you and your employer, but it is also mandatory by the federal law. You are also required to document the name of each carrier you are delivering for and anytime you are not on duty for every 24 hour period. Every truck driver must show a current log book to state patrol and department of transportation officers at weigh station stops.
Keeping Trucker Log Book
Fill out the basic information at the top of the page. This will include your name, the current date, name of the carrier you are delivering for, total mileage for the day and your truck number. If you are delivering for multiple carriers, you will have to include the name of each carrier. Most companies will require you to call dispatch and read off your mileage–and to see if you delivered all of your loads for the day.
Track your activities throughout the day by using the activities grid located in the center of the page. Most log books have four activities sections: “Driving,” “On-Duty,” “Off-Duty” and “Sleeper Berth.” Sleeper Berth simply indicates any time spent in the cab of your truck that is not spent driving or filling out paper work. At the top of the grid, you’ll find all the hours of the day. This allows you to simply draw a line in the section you completed to indicate how many hours of each activity you completed for the day. For instance, if you drove from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., then you would simply draw a straight line in your log book from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Update the activity section of your log every time you change activities. This will prevent you from leaving out important information in your activity log. It will also make your boss happy knowing he can rely on you to complete your log books correctly. This will also come in handy in the event of an accident or if someone tries to sue you.
Tips & Warnings
Don’t throw away log books when you are finished with them. You will need to hang on to your log books in case of an accident or tax audit. Keep any log records for at least seven years.
Every company may use different types of log books and have different ways for completing and reporting your daily logs. Learn and adapt to each company’s method.