Federal safety rules require truck drivers to take periodic rest breaks to prevent accidents caused by fatigue. For example, after driving 11 hours in a 24-hour period, operators must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours. To prove they actually took rest breaks, drivers are required to keep an electronic or paper logbook.
What's to stop a truck driver from claiming to take a rest break when they did not? Given that drivers have traditionally referred to their logbooks as "cheat sheets," we can assume it's fairly common for drivers to create false logbook entries. However, it is possible to catch logbook cheats.
Determining whether a truck driver has created false logbook entries can be key in proving liability in a truck accident case. By showing a truck driver violated Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, you can create a strong case of liability against the driver and the trucking company.
Many tractor-trailer rigs are equipped with GPS systems that record when the truck is moving, the direction it is traveling and the speed. If the GPS system shows the truck was traveling at 70 miles per hour on Interstate 285 while the driver's logbook says he was resting, the truck driver has a problem.
Other ways to catch logbook cheats include checking:
- Fuel receipts
- Food receipts
- Toll receipts
Receipts create a paper trail that show where a driver was at a particular time as well as distances traveled. If a driver claimed to be resting in Athens while he was eating or refueling at a truck stop in Atlanta, your case just became a lot stronger.
Perrotta & Cahn, Attorneys at Law in Cartersville, Georgia, offers a free initial consultation to discuss driver logbooks and other issues in truck accidents.