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A drivers daily log is a type of document used to monitor and document the daily trips and activities that drivers do. The types of drivers who use this document are bus drivers, train drivers, company drivers, and taxi drivers. They need to record everything they’re doing to ensure that they’re doing their jobs well. The log will also serve as a basis for the drivers’ salary much like a work log sheet.

What does a drivers daily log typically contain?

Usually, a drivers daily log contains four major parts which 24 boxes each to represent the number of hours in a day. The four sections represent the shifts of the drivers which are:

  • on-duty (not on the road)
  • driving
  • sleeper
  • off-duty

When filling up the driver log sheet, draw a line across the hours in the proper section which represents your shift for that day. A drivers log book template also includes sections for the name of the driver, the employee number, tractor numbers, shipping numbers, and the number of hours the driver worked from the past week.

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Steps to follow when completing the drivers daily log

Drivers should never handle vehicles without enough rest. This can be a very dangerous thing. As a matter of fact, federal laws require tired drivers to stay off the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration attempts to ensure that drivers follow these rules by documenting their daily activity on a drivers daily log.

Not maintaining an accurate log can result in severe consequences like the driver’s license getting suspended or other penalties. If you want to use the log properly, follow these steps:

  • Before you start driving
    Layouts of a drivers log book template may vary as long as they all contain the required information. Even before you start driving, you should start filling out the form with the basic information including the name and address of your motor carrier, the number of your truck, any shipping documents and details, and more.
  • While you’re driving
    As aforementioned, logs have grids which span for 24 hours. You can document all of your activities appropriately. Use the log’s grid to document these activities from the start of your shift to the end.
    Let’s say that your shift starts at 9 in the morning. At the off-duty section, draw a line from 12:00 midnight to the time you start your shift. Allot at least half an hour before the time of your departure for your pre-trip inspection. You should allot this time because it’s considered as “on duty but not driving.”
    To indicate this time, draw the line from 12:00 midnight to 8:30 in the morning. Then make another line starting from that time all the way to 9:00 in the morning. The 30-minute mark serves as an indication of the inspection time before you start driving. Then create another line on the “driving” section to indicate the amount of time you need to drive all the way to your first stop.
  • When you take a break from driving
    As soon as you take a break from your driving, create another line from the driving section to the “off-duty” section. Indicate how much time you spent on your break. The important thing to keep in mind is to always record all the activities you do. This will ensure that everything you do is in writing.
  • Filling in all of the details
    In the remarks section, you can write down statements explaining all of the activities you have done and where you were every time you changed your activity. Make sure to indicate the town or city and the state you’re in. Then indicate the nearest landmark to ensure the accuracy of your statement.
  • Tallying
    After your shift, you should come up with a tally of how much time you had spent on all the different activities. Write down the total number of hours and make sure that they all add up to one whole day. Then write down the total number of miles you had driven for the whole shift.

How to fill out drivers daily log?

Filling out a drivers daily log properly is of the utmost importance. Most company policies along with the federal law state that truck drivers must fill out the truck driver log book template. The same thing goes for other types of drivers from different companies. If now, the company and the driver might get into a lot of trouble and they might even have to pay a huge fine.

This makes the habit of filling out the drivers daily log extremely important. No matter how busy you are, you should never forget to fill in the necessary information on the document. Even though the logs aren’t checked daily, you will have to answer for any lapses when the Department of Transportation or DOT performs inspections. To help you out, here are some tips for filling out the driver log sheet:

  • Write down the complete corporate address of your company.
  • Write down the home terminal address which is where the dispatcher issues from.
  • Indicate how many hours you’ve spent on your shift.
  • At the end of your shift, write down the odometer reading and your total distance driven.
  • If any accidents or breakdowns occur, make sure to document them right away. Also, include the information about the state and the city where these incidents took place. You have to write the terms “accident” or “breakdown” when describing the events in the document.
  • Spell out the names of the cities completely instead of using abbreviations. But for the states, you may use abbreviations.
  • If you’re in charge of driving several vehicles in a day, make sure to list all of those vehicles on the log.
  • Write legibly and affix your signature.

At the end of each day, you should finalize your log appropriately and prepare it before submission. According to the federal law, you should turn in your drivers log book template within 13 days to your own motor carrier. But if your policies state that you need to turn the log in sooner, then follow those policies.

Mistakes to avoid when filling out a drivers daily log

You should always fill out the driver log sheet accurately and completely. This is important for a lot of reasons, not just for the sake of your salary computation. When you’re writing down information on the log, avoid these mistakes:

  • Writing an incorrect or incomplete address. Whether you’re writing down the corporate address or the home terminal address, make sure that it’s correct. If you’re not sure of the complete address, ask your superiors.
  • Not indicating all of the required shipping documents. You must always indicate any documentation involved during the transportation process. Some examples of document-related information to include are the load’s Manifest Number, the bill of lading, the commodity and the shipper, and more.
  • Not writing the name of the city where you came from and where you went. You write this information on the remarks section of the log.

There are times when you may get the log back with comments for corrections. Usually, you just have to correct minor errors. But if something on your log doesn’t add up, you may have to explain this to your superior.

Some drivers aren’t as honest as the others. When they forget to fill out their log, they choose to falsify the information so they won’t get into trouble. This is a big no-no. You will get into a lot more trouble when you falsify documents instead of admitting that you forgot to fill the logbook at a certain date.

Even worse, some drivers may purposely input inaccurate information on their logs for their personal gain. This may happen to drivers who get paid by the mile. This means that the more miles they cover while driving, the more money they earn.

To add to this, since trucking companies need to meet very strict deadlines, this makes them push the drivers to work more and more. But rather than put the work in, some drivers falsify the records and provide wrong information. It’s the company’s job to check the logs properly to make sure that they contain accurate information.

How long to keep drivers daily log books?

As time goes by and records start piling up, you might start wondering how long you should keep drivers daily log books. According to the DOT, the amount of time required to keep records depends on the type of document.

A driver log sheet falls under the category of “Driver Maintenance and Performance Reports.” This category includes documents which contain information about the maintenance and performance of the drivers and their vehicles after each shift. Companies should file and store such reports for at least three months from the date when the driver prepared the report. Of course, it’s wise to keep the documents for a longer time, especially if you have the space for the files at the office.


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