Logbook Q & A

Q:  I just got a logbook ticket because my logbook wasn't current. Don't the rules say that I'm supposed to be given the chance to catch my logs up when I'm behind? That means the officer shouldn't have given me this ticket, right?

A:  We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn't always work that way. Section 395.8 (f)(1) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations states, "Drivers shall keep their record of duty status current to the time shown for the last change of duty status." Depending on the law enforcement agency's policy and/or the officer's attitude, if your logbook isn't current, you could find yourself digging deep into your wallet to pay for your mistake.

The rule you're probably referring to is found in section 395.13 (b) "Out-of-service criteria." Sub-section (3) reads, "Exception. A driver failing only to have possession of a record of duty status current on the day of examination and the prior day, but has completed record of duty status up to that time (previous 6 days), will be given the opportunity to make the duty record current."

This means if you're behind on your logs by no more than a day and a half, you will be given the opportunity to catch up in order to demonstrate that you have hours available to work. Provided you do have hours available, you won't be placed out of service. Nowhere in this section does it say that you can't get a ticket for failing to have a current log. However, readers tell us that some officers are pretty reasonable and will simply warn them to keep their logbooks current in the future.