How to Understand Log Books


Truckers use log books to record time driving and time resting. Such information may also be logged electronically in trucks containing an onboard recording device. Record your duty status for each hour on a given trip to protect yourself and comply with Hours of Service regulations. Keep your log book on your person or in the truck; police officers or Department of Transportation representatives may ask for it at any time.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph grid
  • Pen

How To Understand Hours of Service

  • Drive a truck or tractor with a trailer weighing 10,001 pounds or more in a commercial capacity (not for personal use) on the interstate to comply with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations.

  • Drive a truck or tractor with a trailer in a commercial capacity on the interstate moving hazardous materials requiring placards to comply with HOS regulations (see the Tips section for compliance rules).

  • Drive a truck or tractor with a trailer with a gross weight rating of 10,001 pounds, as determined by local weigh stations, in a commercial capacity on the interstate to comply with HOS regulations. The gross rating includes passengers, fuel and cargo.

How To Log Daily

  • Fill in general information on the graph grid. This includes the date, your truck and/or trailer number, total day miles, name and address of carrier, time zone to be used if you plan to cross zone lines, and name of shipper or commodity.

  • Look over the graph grid. It shows space for each hour of the day under the headings Off Duty, Sleeper Berth, Driving, On Duty (Not Driving) and an area for Remarks.

  • Draw a solid line through the hours spent in each category listed above. Update your status as soon as it changes. For example, if you drive from noon to 6 p.m. and head to the sleeper berth immediately after, draw through the Driving section from the noon to 6 p.m. markers, then bring the line up to the Sleeper Berth line. As soon as you awake, change the line again to detail your current status.

  • Write the name of your current city and state in the Remarks section for each status update. This gives your carrier an idea of the route taken.

  • Begin a new log sheet each 24-hour period. Save each sheet used.

When Not To Log

  • Do not fill out a graph grid for trips within 100 air miles of your home terminal. You will typically return the same day on a short trip such as this.

  • Do not fill out a graph grid for trips in which you set out and return within 12 hours.

  • Do not fill out a graph grid for a truck which does not require a Commercial Driver's License.

Tips & Warnings

  • Under the Hours of Service regulation, all hourly workers must rest 10 consecutive hours after working 11 consecutive hours. On a weekly schedule, an employee may work 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days before resting 34 consecutive hours.

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