Is It Possible For Truckers to Falsify Their Log Books?

Driving a commercial truck is an extremely demanding job. Not only do truck drivers have to work exhausting hours, most of them behind the wheel, but they are also required to meet strict delivery deadlines and track how long they have been driving. Regrettably, some truck drivers choose to falsify their log books to hide how many hours they have been on the road without taking their statutory rest breaks, an action that can have catastrophic consequences. If you were injured in a commercial truck accident caused by a negligent truck driver, call the experienced Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation. 

Are There Federal Regulations Governing Truck Driver Hours? 

The hours of service rule refers to the number of consecutive hours a driver is allowed to be behind the wheel. It outlines the breaks and rest periods that truck drivers are required to take. The hours of service rule was designed to help reduce driver fatigue and truck accidents caused by drowsy driving. 

Some hours of service rules that apply to drivers of commercial trucks are:  

  • Driver may be on the road for no more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive off-duty hours 
  • Drivers must get off the road after their 14th consecutive hour of driving after 10 consecutive off-duty hours  
  • Drivers must take a half-hour rest break after eight consecutive hours of driving 
  • Drivers may be behind the wheel for no more than 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. This number resets after 34 consecutive off-duty hours 

Exceptions to some of the hours of service rules exist for truckers who use sleeper berths, short-haul truckers, and truckers who work in teams.  

Why Do Truckers Falsify Their Log Books?

Sadly, commercial truck drivers are often incentivized to exceed the number of consecutive driving hours allowed by law. The trucking industry is a competitive one, so freight companies commonly set impossible delivery deadlines for their drivers. Truck drivers who are unable to meet these deadlines may lose their jobs, and while they are aware that their drivers can easily falsify their log books in order to maintain their jobs, they usually turn a blind eye to the practice. Similarly, independent drivers often falsify their log books to get contracts. For instance, they might promise a delivery date they know is unrealistic when they bid on a job. 

In short, financial gain is the leading reason for a driver to falsify their log book. Drivers paid per mile make more money the more they drive, and drivers who beat their delivery often receive substantial bonuses from their employers.  

Truck drivers are not the only ones who benefit from falsifying log books. Shippers also make more money when their freight arrives ahead of schedule because the sooner a driver delivers their product, the sooner they can ship another load. 

Why is Falsifying a Truck Log Book Dangerous?

Drowsy driving and fatigued driving are a leading cause of commercial trucking accidents. In fact, fatigued driving plays a role in about 1.2 million traffic collisions every single year. Skipping even just a couple of hours of sleep significantly increases the risk of a commercial truck accident. 

Driving an oversized commercial truck demands a lot of concentration. Sitting for an extended number of hours and focusing on the roadway often leads to driver fatigue, and fatigued truck drivers are much more likely to make catastrophic or deadly mistakes. Common commercial truck accident injuries include: Severe burns and disfigurement

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Traumatic amputations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Broken bones 
  • Paralysis

Many of the injuries sustained by truck accident victims are life-threatening or lead to lifelong disabilities. The damages caused by a fatigued truck driver can run into the millions. Due to this, freight companies and insurance companies aggressively contest truck accident claims.

Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

If you sustained serious injuries in a commercial truck accident, you should discuss your case with a skilled Virginia Beach truck accident lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp right away. We have more than 70 combined years of experience protecting the rights of accident victims whose lives have been disrupted by a truck driver’s negligence like the $3.5 million settlement we secured for the family of a client who was killed when his car was rear-ended by the driver of a flatbed truck. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call (833) 997-1774 or fill out our contact form. Our offices are in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, and Portsmouth.