Bottom Line
Logbooks: fact or fiction

We get a lot of calls about logbook violations. This is probably the one area of transportation law that’s most confusing. “Why was I put out of service?” “How come the cop didn’t give me 15 minutes to update my logbook?” “How come I have to show the cop my logbook?”

This issue’s “Road Law” is dedicated to the logbook. We hope it clears up most of the false information that’s out there. Here’s the truth:

True or false: When you’re stopped at a scale house and the officer asks for your logbook, you always have 15 minutes to update it.

False! If you’re behind in your log on the day you’re stopped, you can’t automatically update it on the spot unless two things happen first.

One, your log is current for the last six days, and two, the officer threatens to put you out of service because your log isn’t current for the day.

True or false: When your log is current for the last six days, but not for the day you’re stopped, you always have 15 minutes to update it.

This is false! Remember, there is only one way you get time right there on the spot, in order to make your log current for the day. First, the prior six days must be current. Second, you’ve been threatened to be put out of service.

In the situation above, the driver’s log was current for the six days before the stop, but the officer didn’t threaten to put her out of service. Both have to happen before you get time to update your log on the spot. Just remember, “Six and threat.”

True or false: When your log is current for the past six days, but not for the day you’re stopped, and the officer threatens to put you out of service, he has to give you 15 minutes to update your log for the day.

This is false! And yes, it’s a trick question. You’ve got “six and threat” here so the officer does have to give you time to update your log for the day. But, does he have to give you exactly 15 minutes? No! There isn’t an exact amount of time required by law. You get a reasonable amount of time to update your log for the day. This means how much time would it take a reasonable truckdriver to update his/her log under the particular circumstances of the stop. Depending on the facts of your case, a reasonable amount of time may be a lot longer than 15 minutes.

There is only one way you get time
right there on the spot, in order to
make your log current for the day

True or false: You don’t have to give your logbook to the officer when he/she asks for it because it violates your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

This is something we hear all the time and it’s false! Courts say that giving your log to an officer isn’t “self-incriminating” because checking logbooks is very important to public safety. So, whether you agree or not, the courts say that checking logbooks is one of the best ways to protect the public by keeping fatigued drivers off the road. Take our advice. When an officer asks for your log, give it to him. End of story.

True or false: You don’t have to keep a logbook to drive locally.

This is a true statement. You don’t need a logbook if you’re truly a “local” driver.

Rules for local driving without a logbook

• You can’t travel outside 100 air miles from where you report for work;You have to return to the work location within 12 hours;You must take eight hours in a row off-duty between each 12 hours on-duty;You can only drive 10 hours after your eight hours off-duty; and
• Your boss has to maintain a six- month record of your time records.

We hope you can use the information in this column to help with every day, real life problems you face on the road. We invite you to send us any questions or comments you may have regarding transportation law to: Road Law, 1330 N. Classen Blvd., Suite 215, Oklahoma City, OK 73106. You can fax to (405) 272-0558 or contact us through our web site at www.roadlaw.net. We look forward to hearing from you.