Driver Logbook Auditing and DOT Audits

Discover what DOT Auditors Look for in a Logbook Inspection

Freight trucks

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Knowing how a logbook should be audited, what you should look for, and what a Department of Transportation (DOT) auditor will be looking for can make your job easier in the long run. Time spent now can lessen fines received later during an audit. Also, by auditing the logs daily, you can give back to the drivers those logs that need correction, thus teaching them the correct way to fill out their logs, which will lessen fines received during roadside inspections.

What You Should Know About DOT Audits

  • The DOT auditor has complete discretion on when they write tickets and issue fines. Auditors will either be a State Police officer or a civilian employed by the DOT. The attitude of the office staff and drivers directly affect the State Police's response. Do not offer anything to the auditor, including, but not limited to, coffee, water, or snacks, as this can be construed as a bribe, which is a federal offense.
  • A safety audit is not the same thing as a compliance review. The safety audit is more educational, and the company tends to receive fewer fines.
  • Put Gross Vehicle Weight Rating tag information into an equipment maintenance file.
  • As of 2013, 150-mile radius drivers do not have to document pre- or post-trip on their timesheets.
  • As of 2013, a driver falsifying a log, or a company knowingly allowing a driver to falsify a log, are subject to up to five years in federal prison.
  • The company logbook auditor must also audit timesheets as well.
  • A driver's 60 hours is based on restart to restart, not on a payroll week.
  • All minor violations should have documented disciplinary action. This includes such things as the wrong date on the log, name or address wrong, grid errors, not being legible, etc.
  • There can be nothing on the windshield within the radius of the windshield wipers.
  • Second jobs must go in log books. If there are not 10 hours off between jobs, then you are liable for any accidents.
  • A driver can use one log sheet for multiple days off-duty, provided that all the dates are in one month.
  • Management must see that loads are dispatched in a legitimate time frame. The dispatcher and/or router must take into account weather and speed limits.
  • Timesheets must also have zero hour days filled out.
  • Any route over 12 hours must be on a driver's log, whether the driver is in or out of the 150 air-mile radius.
  • As of 2013, 150 air-mile radius drivers can legally carry a timesheet and a log book together.
  • The neater the log book, the less likely there will be a fine.
  • Drivers must initial all changes in their log book.
  • The company auditor must always total the hours on each line of the grid to ensure they add up to 24 hours.
  • If a driver has more than one day off-duty, a line is drawn through off-duty, 24 hours is written on the off-duty hours line and 24 hours times the numbers of days the log is, is written on the total hours line.
  • The driver does not need to document Total Miles Today unless they are team driving. Only Driving Miles have to be recorded.
  • Draw a dash through any line where no information is needed. 
  • Drivers do not need to fill out the Home Address line.
  • The Start/Destination lines at the bottom of the log are not required.
  • The driver does not have to fill out the Shipper line; they are the Shipper.
  • Drivers cannot abbreviate cities (i.e., must write Grand Rapids, GR is not acceptable). However, states can be abbreviated.
  • When you stop, you only have to say where you are, not what you are doing unless you are in an accident, roadside inspection, breakdown, or adverse weather.
  • Off-duty means the driver is 100% relieved of all responsibility towards the truck.
  • Paid hours have nothing to do with hours of service.
  • Drivers cannot use a 16-hour rule if traveling outside 100-mile air radius.
  • Breakdowns are always listed On-Duty Not Driving until towed or fully relieved of responsibility.
  • Recaps are not required by law on the daily log.
  • The Mandatory Rest Break change, effective July 1, 2013: the eight hours is drive time. A driver may not drive after eight hours of Drive Time unless taking a 30-minute rest break.

Pre-Audit Review Recommendations

To ensure drivers are in compliance, meet with those who will be present during an audit and make sure you discuss how a poor attitude can impact an audit.

Try to have a meeting room for the audit away from other drivers. Review all paper logs for the past six months and have drivers make all necessary corrections. Audit all timesheets for the last six months for Class C drivers. Have corrections made as necessary. Write official policy and procedure for log violations and have it entered into the company's Policy and Procedure book.

Meet with all drivers that have second jobs and inform them of their responsibilities for logging their hours for their other jobs and remind them that they cannot drive after reaching 60 hours.

Review routes for 16-hour extension limitations and adjust if possible, or tell drivers they have to start laying over. Show all Class C drivers how to write a driver's daily log to do when necessary. Establish a policy and procedure for off-duty time.

It's important to make sure all the drivers in your fleet are aware of these policies and how they need to abide by them.