This past summer, a truck driver heading north on the I-55 caused a pile up collision that resulted in the deaths of five people.
Investigators have reported that not only was he driving 15 mph over the speed limit; he had also falsified the logbooks for his truck.
What are logbooks?
With some exceptions, professional truckers are obligated to keep a logbook detailing their hours at work, as spelled out by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. Among the data they need to report are hours spent driving.
A logbook can be an important piece of evidence after a truck crash, as it may show whether drivers were on the road for too many hours consecutively or too many hours total per week. Demonstrating that truck drivers were fatigued or overworked could help explain why they behaved a certain way in the immediate lead-up to an accident.
Truck drivers are required by law to report their hours honestly. Although many drivers maintain an accurate record of their time of the road, some try to falsify the data. One reason they might do this is the pressure they face from truck companies to make a delivery by a certain deadline.
Paper logbooks are easier to falsify, but even electronic logbooks can be tampered with, given enough determination. But there are ways of catching logbook falsification. For example, trucking companies may use GPS tracking on trucks, maintaining an additional record of where they are.
A falsified logbook raises the following questions:
- How credible is the truck driver’s testimony, if they’re falsifying a record of their driving? (The same can be asked of a company in cases where the trucker’s employer attempts to falsify driving records.)
- How many hours were they actually on the road?
- Were their employers pressuring them to exceed the limits on driving time?
- Do they or their employers have a history of violations?
When you contact experienced Indianapolis truck accident lawyers, one of the issues you’ll need to discuss is the behavior of the truck driver at the time of the accident and in the immediate lead-up to it. Logbooks provide one clue about the driving behavior and history of a particular truck driver and may provide a better idea of what occurred during a crash.