I was going to put up another post in my ongoing series detailing FMCSA’s illicit war on small bus companies, but someone asked a good question regarding logbooks, which I think deserves a separate post. Here is the question from “Jason”:
“I typically drive within the hundred mile radius daily but once every two weeks I have to make a trip across state lines and over the hundred mile radius usually about 175 miles air miles from my home terminal. I fill out a daily driver sheet with my hours and miles each day and a log sheet whenever I go past the hundred mile radius. Is this legal or do I need to everyday fill out a log sheet since once every two weeks I go past the hundred mile radius? Thank you for your help.”
Basically, he’s asking does he need to fill out a log every day, because once every two weeks he needs a logbook, even though all the other days he is local and does not need one?
The answer is NO, he does not need a logbook, except for the days he does not meet the exemption. He does not need to have 7 previous days worth of logs with him on that day when he drives outside his 100 air mile circle. Here is the chapter and verse, just so you don’t think I’m making this up:
Question 21 (of the 395.1 interpretations): When a driver fails to meet the provisions of the 100 air-mile radius exemption (section 395.1(e)), is the driver required to have copies of his/her records of duty status for the previous seven days? Must the driver prepare daily records of duty status for the next seven days?
Guidance: The driver must only have in his/her possession a record of duty status for the day he/she does not qualify for the exemption. A driver must begin to prepare the record of duty status for the day immediately after he/she becomes aware that the terms of the exemption cannot be met The record of duty status must cover the entire day, even if the driver has to record retroactively changes in status that occurred between the time that the driver reported for duty and the time in which he/she no longer qualified for the 100 air-mile radius exemption. This is the only way to ensure that a driver does not claim the right to drive 10 hours after leaving his/her exempt status, in addition to the hours already driven under the 100 air-mile exemption.
The reason I am posting the chapter and verse is because this is a question which drivers and cops commonly get wrong. Especially cops, which is very frustrating, as the police should know their own laws. Nevertheless, it has happened where a local driver leaves the 100 air miles, gets stopped at the scalehouse, and the police demand the driver’s previous 7 days worth of logs. THE DRIVER DOES NOT NEED THEM. See the above interpretation. All the driver needs is a log for that day he is beyond the 100 air miles.
Eric Arnold is a Former Enforcement Manager with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and a leading expert on USDOT compliance for small businesses. Do you have a question for Eric Arnold? Email him at email@example.com.