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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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