Logbooks…. Can I Abbreviate?

Many drivers ask, “When I’m filling out my logbook, can I use shorthand when putting in the locations in the ‘Remarks’ section?” Instead of writing, Cincinnati, can I write Cincy? Or NYC? Or STL? The rules do not provide for that. They say city, town, village, and the State abbreviation. They even say you’re supposed to write down the mile marker of the highway, followed by the nearest city and State, if you are not in a city when you stop.

In reality, most DOT cops will not give you grief if it’s clear where you are. For example, I’ve never seen a DOT person complain about something being logged as Ft. Washington, rather than Fort Washington. No doubt someone will post a comment within 15 minutes saying they got a ticket for just such a case, but I’ve never seen it. If you are only marking MM 68 on the log, that’s a problem. Which highway? Which way to the mile markers run? 0-300 or 300-0? DOT uses the cities and States to determine where you were, and whether or not your log is an accurate document. If they can’t figure out where you were, they can cite you for a false document.


Eric Arnold is a Former Enforcement Agent 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 eric@arnoldsafety.com.

Arnold Safety simplifies D.O.T. Compliance for commercial vehicle operators. Get Eric Arnold’s USDOT Compliance Guide, DVD, & Regulations at ArnoldSafety.Com.

Learn more about Arnold Safety compliance consulting services at ArnoldSafety.Com.

2 thoughts on “Logbooks…. Can I Abbreviate?

  • December 28, 2018 at 1:04 am

    I drive a ram 2500 with a gvwr of 10,000 lbs and have the vehicle registered for 25,999. I toe rv’s and was told by a DOT man that when I drop the trailer and am not under load or being paid that I am not required to maintain a log and also not required to run my magnetic signs. I have been told by some other drivers that I should be logging back to home, but my truck is NOT over 10,000lbs. Can you reply to my e-mail?

  • February 4, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    I apologize, I missed this comment. If the vehicle has a Gvwr and weight of under 10,001 lbs., and you are not pulling something, you are not subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. That means you would not need to display the USDOT numbers or keep a logbook.

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