A log book may not seem like the most compelling piece of evidence in a truck accident, but it actually is. Each year, hundreds of truck drivers in Long Beach and all across California engage in an illegal and dangerous practice of falsifying log books in order to shield themselves from liability in case of truck accidents.
Fact: Did you know that an estimated between 15 and 20 percent of all truck accidents in the United States are caused by fatigued drivers?
Today, we invited our Long Beach truck accident attorney to explain why truck drivers tend to provide inaccurate information in log books, and how you can prove that the driver was fatigued, drowsy or sleep-deprived at the time of the collision.
What is a log book?
In Long Beach and all across California, truck drivers are legally required to maintain a log book for every 24-hour period of service. There are strict federal trucking regulations that require truck drivers to take 10 consecutive hours off after driving. Furthermore, federal regulations make it illegal for drivers to operate a truck for more than 11 hours in a row.
Many truck drivers tend to violate federal trucking regulations in California in order to increase their mileage, deliver cargo on time, meet strict deadlines, maximize their profit, and for other reasons.
A log book is the only way to prove that the truck driver is or is not following these regulations. However, the problem is that the truck driver is also the one who maintains his or her log book, which may be tempting and possible for many drivers to provide false information in log books.
“Federal trucking regulations exist for a reason, and violating them can prove to be catastrophic,” explains our best truck accident attorney in California at the JML Law. “Many truck drivers falsify their log books by decreasing the number of hours on the road or increasing the number of hours of rest periods to meet the legally allowed Hours of Service requirements.”
Whatever is the case, falsifying log books is a major problem in Long Beach, California and all across the United States.
How truck drivers falsify log books in California
If you have been in a truck accident and you suspect that the truck driver was fatigued, drowsy, drunk, or sleep-deprived, you may be able to review records in the driver’s log book with the legal help of your Long Beach truck accident attorney. Reviewing the log book is paramount to ensure that the truck driver complied with Hours of Service regulations. However, even if the truck driver was fatigued and it was the primary cause of the truck accident, but the log book shows that the driver followed the regulations, the driver could have easily falsified records in the log book.
Unfortunately, truck drivers falsify log books all the time in order to avoid liability and penalties for violating federal regulations. A log book also serves as a critical piece of evidence when it comes to determining liability and recovering damages in your personal injury case.
Log books provide crucial information about the driver’s condition at the time of the truck accident.
How to prove that the log book was falsified?
But do not assume that just because truck drivers falsify log books there is no way to prove that the truck driver was not in compliance with trucking regulations and that these violations contributed to the accident.
With the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer in Long Beach, it is possible to prove that the log book was falsified by the at-fault driver by tracking the driver’s itinerary and estimating how long it would take the truck driver to get from point A to the point where the accident occurred to see if he/she followed the regulations. During our thorough investigation into your case, our attorneys may also be able to access camera footage along the road and obtain witness accounts (interview motel and hotel personnel along the road, waitresses in nearby cafes and restaurants, talk to the driver’s family members, etc.).
While the truck driver will certainly be held liable for your injuries and damages if it can be proven that he/she violated trucking regulations and/or falsified log books, his or her trucking company may also be held responsible if, for example, it was aware of any log book falsifications or it prompted the at-fault driver to violate regulations by setting unrealistic deadlines.
As you can see, the process of determining fault in a truck accident may not be easy, which is why it is highly advised to hire a truck accident attorney. Let our experienced lawyers at JML Law review your case during a free consultation. Call our offices at 818-610-8800 or send us an email.