The best way to avoid a violation is to know exactly what the inspector is looking for. With this in mind, we asked Sergeant William Collier of the Tennessee Highway Patrol to participate in a webinar with us that addresses what compliance looks like from an inspector's perspective.
Below is a recording of the webinar followed by the questions we received in the Q&A session. If you have additional questions, check out our FAQ.
Below you will find the answers to the questions that we didn't have time to answer during the webinar.
What qualifies for personal conveyance and how far can you go?
The rules on personal conveyance are pretty vague. For a full explanation please check out this blog post that covers everything you should know.
Why can’t I edit some logs?
This depends a bit on your particular situation. If you are using our Engine Connected Logs with DashLink then drive time is captured from the engine bus and won’t be editable. For non-engine connected logs, you can only edit your logs back 14 days.
When will BigRoad start and it will be approved in all States?
BigRoad is already here and, yes, we comply to federal regulations for driver logs and can be used in all States as well as Canada.
What is it that makes an officer do a random pullover on semis to do a level 1 inspection?
Officers are going to be on the lookout for obvious violations and truck damage that is going to create a danger on the roads.
What happens if a non-CDL driver is caught driving a rig that is over the 26-ton limit? What would this do to a company's DOT number and other ramifications?
Basically a lot of problems. Apart from being put out of service and fines, the driver will automatically become open to drug testing that they didn’t have to do.
Which drivers need to complete log sheets - what is the criteria?
Anyone who is driving a commercial vehicle as defined by the FMCSA and does not fall under an exemption. The best way to find out if driver logs apply to you is to go through the 395 regulations on the FMCSA website.
Is a smartphone-based log compliant? Do I need to print them out during an inspection or can I email it? Do I need to keep paper logs as a backup?
Yes, smartphone-based logs are completely compliant with log regulations. If you are using a non-engine connected log then we do recommend keeping a printer with you in case an inspector demands a printed copy. Keeping a spare paper logbook is also a good idea in case you ever have a device malfunction.
If you run 15 to 30 minutes over, is it ok to show that you went into violation or should you fudge it up to show you're legal?
No, fudging your logs is always going to create more trouble in the long run. Keep in mind that inspectors are trained to figure out if a driver is cheating on their logs. And while you might get away with it once or twice, a full audit is probably going to reveal the inconsistencies.
Is a DOT inspector allowed to come into the cab and, if so, collect or ask for any receipt or go through the cab looking for them?
In certain inspections, the inspector is going to need access to the cab of the truck. It is also recommended that any supporting documents are kept organized and with your logs.
A driver is in a day cab, out of hours and cannot drive any longer and another driver is sent out to relieve the driver of his duty. If he is in the front seat but is not driving or on duty, is he still considered off duty even though there is no sleeper?
The sleeper line can only be used when the driver is actually in a sleeper. In this situation, the driver must log 'On Duty'. But remember, even if you are on duty for more than 14 hours, you will only receive a violation if you are driving.
If a company is training with eLogs and are also using paper logs while training, is that the same as keeping two logs?
This won’t be considered two logs provided they are showing accurate information and the driver declares which is his legal log. However, if they are reading very different then the officer may suspect you are trying to keep different books.
I got stopped and told that my phone wasn’t good enough. They said I needed a printer and said my ELD was supposed to be connected to the truck.
Most inspectors are willing to view your logs on your device; unfortunately some inspectors will require you to print your logs. For this reason, we recommend keeping a portable printer in your cab. It is important to know the difference between an ELD (currently known as an AOBRD which has a form of engine connection) and an electronic logbook (which does not have an engine connection). If you are connecting your device to your engine then you don’t need to be able to print. If you don’t have an engine connection, you will need to be able to print.
How does a trooper approach you about your log and what questions will they apply with electronic logging?
For the most part an inspection with an electronic logbook is going to be very similar to an inspection with paper logs. An officer may have questions as to how to work the device and the best solution for that is to provide them with a driver card. Here are our driver cards for BigRoad electronic log and BigRoad with Dashlink.
Does an untidy dash draw first attention for inspection?
The appearance of your cab can set the tone for the entire inspection. If an inspector finds your cab messy, they are going to be less inclined to let things slip.
Does the BigRoad device have a pass-through connection?
Yes, our engine connection devices use a pass-through connection that will allow you to connect other devices.
Are BigRoad logs compliant with Canadian rules?
Yes, BigRoad electronic logs are compatible with Canadian as well as US regulations.
Can BigRoad be installed on an iPad? Or must it be an Android device?
BigRoad is available for both Android and iOS devices, so you will be able to install it on your iPad.
Are these inspections the same in all States?
There are federal regulations around inspections. However, some states may vary slightly in how they conduct their inspection. Please check the various state regulations to learn about the state you will be driving in.
Are electronic logs better than paper logs and why?
Maybe I’m a little biased but yes. Electronic logs make it obvious if you are going to go into a violation and let you fix it before an inspection. Electronic logs are going to keep your logs neat and prevent small mistakes that can cause a violation for you.
If a straight truck tagged under 10,000 lbs, but used for interstate commerce, can anyone drive it?
A CDL might not be required, but depending on the nature of what you are carrying, you could be open to inspections and be required to keep logs.
Can you get a violation for messy paperwork?
If an inspector is unable to read what has been recorded in a log then they can give you a violation. Form and manner errors are one of the most common errors in logs. Therefore, it is best to have as clear a log as possible.
As far as the 100-mile exemption, what if the home office of a carrier is further than 100 miles from a driver, but the driver operates out of a specific rail yard for several months at a time?
For those months, the driver will be able to list the specific yard as his home terminal. Provided that the driver is leaving that yard and returning to it every day.
A driver is due to arrive at the receiver at 2:00 am and his appointment is at 7:00 am. He is legal to drive until 4:00 am. The receiver does not allow overnight parking at the premises; his closest parking is an hour away. So he is going to wake up and start driving at 6:00 am which would put him in 14-hour violation. How do you treat cases like this?
In this situation, they are in violation regardless of the circumstances. Somehow he is going to have to get his 10 hours off duty in order to start his next 14-hour driving window.
Is a small company required to have in ELD? I only have one truck in my company.
As of right now there are no exemptions for fleets based on size in the mandate. For more information on the ELD mandate, you can view our previous webinar on it.
Providing seven days of logs, do they have to be in the truck or can they be in the office?
The driver must have access to the logs in the truck so that the inspector can check them.
When crossing time zones, are the HOS calculated with respect to only the originating time zone?
Yes, logs are kept according to the driver's home terminal time zone.
Are you familiar with the Misting Shock Phenomenon relating to Oil Filled Shocks and is this considered to be a leaking shock?
Shock misting is known to occur, the amount of mist of grime created from this should not be large enough to be considered a leak.
If using electronic logs that the driver can electronically sign, does the driver still need the ability to print the logs for the trooper?
If your logs are not engine connected then an inspector can request that you print your logs.