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How to Fill Out a Paper Daily Drivers Log

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A truck driver holding a clipboard and leaning against his delivery truck.
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While e-logs are becoming more common every day, there are still a lot of truckers using paper logs. It is easy to become complacent on filling these logs out. Drivers logs are not inspected daily by the DOT, and so it can become a task that is continually put to the wayside. That is not a good plan. You should complete your logs daily. In fact, the FMCSR states that logs must be current through the last duty status change. A DOT officer may cut you a bit of slack if your paper log is not up to the minute, but then again, he may not. (For the purpose of this article, DOT officers will be referred to in the male persona).

The DOT officer may not be aware that just because something is printed on a log does not mean a driver has to fill it out. For instance, the recap section is not a requirement by the FMCSA. Given this reality, it is important to purchase paper logs that have only the basic information on them. There are a number of companies where you can purchase your paper logs, including most truck stops.

Necessities:
  • Main Office Address is the corporate address of the motor carrier.
  • Home Terminal is the address the driver dispatches from.
  • Breakdowns and Accidents must be documented at the appropriate time along with the city and state the breakdown or accident took place in. The word breakdown or accident must actually be written on the log, should one occur.
  • Your log MUST be legible, including your signature.
  • Your log MUST be turned in to your motor carrier within 13 days according to federal law. Your motor carrier may require logs to be turned in sooner than this.
  • City names MUST be spelled out completely. No abbreviations (i.e. Indy, IN is not acceptable, it must read Indianapolis, IN).
  • States may be abbreviated.
  • If you drive multiple pieces of equipment in one day, every piece of equipment must be listed on the paper log.
  • You MUST initial all changes made to your paper log.
  • The most common reasons paper logs will be returned for corrections:
  • Address field filled out incorrectly.
  • Missing shipping documents (remember you only have to fill out one of the two lines) .
  • Beginning or ending city (this is the remarks section, NOT the from/to at the bottom of the log) .
  • Driving/On-Duty hours added up incorrectly (yes, DOT can actually write a ticket for that) .
  • See the picture for an example of how a log must be filled out. Please note where there is a long dash, which is actually something the DOT does not require us to fill out. Putting a dash in does assist during roadside inspections where the officer may not be as up-to-date as possible on logging requirements.

    Properly filling out a paper log is not only a matter of company policy, but a matter of Federal Law. Hours of Service violations can range anywhere from $1,100 to $10,000 per occurrence.

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