When do I have to fill out logbooks?

trukgirl3.jpgDear Eric: Do I have to fill out logbooks?

Answer: The regulations state that you must complete a record of duty status (aka a logbook) every day, unless if you:

1) stay within a 100 air mile radius from your office, and 2) return to the office within 12 hours.

If you do that, your driver may record his time on a time card, time sheet, any thing that captures the time started, time finished, and the total number of hours worked that day. In the event the driver does not meet those requirements one day, then for that day, he must complete a logsheet. Logbooks are generally available at truckstops, or online from www.jjkeller.com.  If you are a non-CDL driver, there are numerous exceptions that apply instead of the 100 air mile rule.


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.

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125 thoughts on “When do I have to fill out logbooks?

  • May 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I have non CDL drivers driving trucks with special equipment in tow that are under 26,001 lbs
    they have medical cards do they need log books filled out 7 days in advance ? And when they are not towing their trucks weigh in around 11,500 do they need log books ?

  • May 16, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Your drivers would have to fill out logbooks every day, if they cross state lines. The threshold for the regulations is 10,001 lbs. GVWR, and yours is 11,500. There are some exceptions for when logs are not required, but generally speaking, your guys need logbooks.

  • May 30, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Are you required to fill out a log book when crossing a state line. I was under the assumption it was only if you went over 100 air miles or 12hours on duty. I work in minnesota and have a CDL. I fill out a trip report to for IFTA purposes, but never a log book.

  • June 1, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I have a truck registered at 26000gvw in the state of California. I may cross State line occasionally for hot shots.I have a USDOT, MEDICAL CARD> If I get a State permit where Im going am I ok. THANKS For example California to Arizona. Do I need UCR as well?

  • June 16, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Perry: you would need to comply with all the USDOT regulations: logbooks, medicals, driver files, maintenance records, etc., if you go into Arizona. UCR, too. Your vehicle would be over 10,001 lbs. GVWR, which makes you subject to all the rules. You may be subject to CDL and drug and alcohol testing as well, which kicks in at 26,001 lbs. GVWR. You have to count the GVWR of the trailer, too.

  • June 16, 2014 at 9:08 am

    George: State lines do not matter for the logbook. You are correct, 100 air miles, or more than 12 hours on-duty require a logbook.

  • July 2, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I work for a construction co. and we drive 1 ton pick-ups with work bodies. We normally work more than 100 miles away from our office but we stay out of town. The trucks have DOT #s b/c we occasionally haul trailers that put us over 10,000 lbs. We only haul trailers once every few months but we are told that we need to fill out log books every day, This even applies when we fly to another state and have rental cars. Some drivers haven’t hauled a trailer in 6 months yet they fill out DOT log books every day. Does this sound correct.

  • July 28, 2014 at 7:09 am

    Sure, it sounds correct. An employer has the right to keep its time records any way it sees fit. When you are driving those one ton pickups for work, or pulling trailers with smaller pickups, you have to account for your time. The rules have a bunch of exceptions in them, but the bottom-line is the time must be accounted for in some fashion. The easiest way to make sure all time is accounted for is make the drivers fill out a log every day.

  • October 5, 2014 at 11:49 am

    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

  • October 5, 2014 at 11:50 am

    or is it okay to only fill out a log sheet on the days I go past the air mile radius and the days I stay with in the air mile radius just a daily load sheet with my hours and miles thank you

  • October 6, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Good question. You only need to fill out the logbook on the days you do not meet the exception… ie, the ones where you go outside the 100 air mile circle, or work more than 12 hours. On the days you meet the exception, you do not need to carry a logbook. Yes, this is true. It is in Question 21 of the interpretations to 395.1. I specify this because many drivers say, “no way!” Also, many drivers say “no way!” because there are more than a fair number of cops out there who continually get this rule wrong. It’s very frustrating when the cops don’t know their own rules. Anyway, you need to log when you don’t meet the exception, and only on those days.

  • October 6, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Good question. You only need to fill out the logbook on the days you do not meet the exception… ie, the ones where you go outside the 100 air mile circle, or work more than 12 hours. On the days you meet the exception, you do not need to carry a logbook. Yes, this is true. It is in Question 21 of the interpretations to 395.1. I specify this because many drivers say, “no way!” Also, many drivers say “no way!” because there are more than a fair number of cops out there who continually get this rule wrong. It’s very frustrating when the cops don’t know their own rules. Anyway, you need to log when you don’t meet the exception, and only on those days.

  • December 10, 2014 at 3:21 am

    I work for a company and have to travel to other states, the company allows me to stay in my personal travel trailer and expense a daily flat rate, I don’t work out of it. I drive a ram 4500 with a gvwr of 19k and my travel trailer has a gvwr of 10k, do I need a cdl or have to keep logbooks? I do typically have company property in my vehicle while traveling (office supplies, folding table, stapler etc)

  • December 10, 2014 at 3:27 am

    Also, I own the truck personally.

  • December 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    George: the CDL requirements only apply if the trailer exceeds 10,000 lbs. GVWR, so it sounds like yours is just under the limit. Otherwise, you are in somewhat of a grey area. A few cops would probably say the rules do apply to you, because you are using your living quarters in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise. Most would say the rules do not apply, because you are moving in your own personal living quarters. The realistic answer is: if the vehicle is unmarked (ie: no DOT number), and you never pull into a scale, then you look like any other RV combination out there, and the police should not bother you.

  • February 18, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    What regulation state this?

  • February 26, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    49 CFR Part 395

  • March 5, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Is there a regulation on how to properly fill out the daily trip logs for a CDL driven vehicle? For example, I have a driver who travels from Oshkosh, Wisconsin and drives to Chicago, Illinois. He has three different stops to make while in Chicago. When he fills out his Trip Log he does not list each stop separately he just logs all three stops under one entry: Oshkosh to Chicago. Does each stop that he makes in Chicago need to be logged separately and if so what is the reason that they have to logged separately, or can they all be grouped together?

  • April 27, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I have a CMV, 1 ton van. Am I supposed to be stopping at scales on my trips when I pull a trailer and when I’m not? What are the regulations on a company vehicle like mine? Do I need a specific license? Is a logbook something I need to be using when I’m traveling over the radius restrictions even though I don’t drive more than 11 continuous hours? Obviously, I’m new to this….

  • April 28, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Somewhere buried in the interpretations to 49 CFR 395.8, it says that on a driver’s log, he can lump multiple stops in one town or city together. For example, the driver makes 5 drops, all within Chicago, IL. The driver would estimate the amount of time he spent delivering, and log that on Line 4, on-duty, not driving. He would then estimate the amount of time he spent driving between the 5 drops, and log that after the on-duty not driving time on Line 3. This interpretation apparently tries to give the driver an ability to fill out his log easier, rather than drawing many up-down-up-down-up-down-up-down lines on his logs for multiple drops. Hope that helps.

  • April 28, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Laura: On the scale issue, you have to read the signs leading to the scale. All states are different. If the sign says, “All Commercial Traffic 13 T and up”, then, no you wouldn’t have to stop. If it says, “All commercial traffic” then you would. The rules apply to all vehicles, or combination of vehicles with a GVWR of 10,001 lbs. or more. Your van and trailer, probably are over the 10,001 lbs. This would make you subject to all the rules except CDL licensing and drug/alcohol testing.

  • May 11, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    What is required of a company with a company vehicle that weighs over 10,001 lbs but under 26,001 lbs – Crossing state lines and not crossing state lines?
    Logging? Driver qualification file? Medical card?

  • May 20, 2015 at 10:31 am

    If you cross state lines, you need everything except CDL licensing, and drug/alcohol testing.

  • June 4, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Hi, i amo a local tractor trailer driver in NJ, i dont drive more than 150 miles radius, my worries are if i need a log book or not, i drive PA,NJ,DE,NY, and im scare to get pulled over and get a ticket, some people say i need to do it some people said i dont, other people said only draw one line on ondutty line, i dont know who bielieve, if you can help me with that, thanks.

  • June 16, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    I work for a company that has 4 vehicles each over 10,000 LBS but under 26,000. Our techs drive the trucks to repair equipment, some trips are out of our home state and over 150 miles. The only thing in the trucks is tooling for the jobs. Do we need to have a DOT number and record hours for the drivers?

  • June 17, 2015 at 9:22 am

    I suppose you have to be able to drive the truck well enough to pass the test…..

  • June 17, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Hector: if you stay within 100 air miles, and are back within 12 hours, you can just draw a line on Line 4 to keep track of your time. Make sure you total the hours in the far right hand column. However, if you are going 150 miles… that’s more than 100. In that case, you would need a log for each day you exceed the 100 air miles. If you run local Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, you could draw the line on Line 4 for those days. Then on Thursday, when you’re running to Pittsburgh, fill the log out completely. Then on Friday, when you’re local again, draw the line back on Line 4. Hope that helps.

  • June 17, 2015 at 10:30 am


  • June 17, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks, so we then are limited on how long we can work/drive per day per the DOT handbook?

  • July 2, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Generally speaking, 14 hours. If you stay within 150 air miles of the office, you can work/drive up to 16 hours twice a week.

  • July 12, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    I operate a limousine company and we just purchased a Sprinter with a GVWR of 11,030 lbs. Do our Class B drivers need to fill out a log book? and if so just for the Sprinter or for all the runs they do on a given day? They rarely go 100 miles outside the office.

  • July 17, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Is the Sprinter a passenger vehicle? If it is, you need a logbook if you work more than 12 hours, or go more than 100 air miles from the office. If it is not a passenger vehicle (ie, used to haul freight), then you need a logbook if you go more than 150 air miles from the office. In either case without the logbook, you need to record the time started, the time finished, and the total number of hours for each day.

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  • August 18, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    got stopped today said i was on phone was looking at gps but other than that parked me cause he said. didnt have log books but after getting home realized it was under a 100 air miles was he right or had no buisness parking me.is a tractor trailer over 26000lbs

  • August 26, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Hi. We have a box van with a DOT# on the side (Not for Hire) that pulls a merchandise trailer. My question is when the box van is not pulling the trailer and driving cross country do they still need to stop at scales when it states “all CMV over 13 T”…the GVW of box van alone is under the 13T but the cab card is 54,000 lbs. And I assume they would need to go through scales when it is “All Commercial Vehicles” with the DOT# on the side yes?

  • October 14, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    We have just recently acquired 5 Sprinter Vans (4 are over 10k lbs, and 1 is under. We are registered as interstate and our staff use these as a mobile construction vehicles and drive to site. Most days driving is just to site from hotel.
    What are the rules regarding log book, and medicals?

    Many thanks,

  • November 9, 2015 at 11:11 am


    Sorry for the late reply. If you are within 100 air miles of the office, and you are keeping your time at the office on a time sheet, or time card, which has the time started, time finished, and the total number of hours worked that day, AND, you are back within 12 hours, you do not need a logbook.

  • November 9, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I probably would not stop if it says “all CMV over 13 T”, since the GVW of the truck is under 26,000 lbs. However, if you want to know for sure, contact the State Police for whatever State you are going through. When in doubt, pull into the scale. They will tell you if they don’t want you there.

  • November 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    I apologize for the late reply. You would need to fully comply with the FMCSA safety regulations, except for CDL licensing and drug/alcohol testing. You would need medicals, logbooks, maintenance records, and driver qualification files. I can give you more specifics over the telephone if you are interested. I can be reached at (610) 582-4356.

  • December 24, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    I drive for a major LTL carrier and my question is this, If I’m on a run and I’m approaching my 14th or 16th hour and the company sends another driver out to get the truck and brings me a pickup to drive back, am I allowed to drive the pickup truck back to the terminal or would I be in violation? The pickup is under 10001 pounds so I’m thinking it only has to be logged has on duty not driving. Some drivers here insist that the weight wouldn’t matter and it’s a violation of the law. Who is right?

  • January 9, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Hi. I haul auto assembly parts from the mfg to the assembly plant. All of our runs are under 100 air miles and we work 12 hour shifts. We fill out a trip sheet every day that lists where we left from & destination, Time Left/Arrived, Trailer # (we usually drop & hook at both ends) and, depending on run, the Order/BOL #. These sheets also include name, truck #, mileages and clock in/out times. (It’s pretty much how we get paid and used for billing). The drivers have been filling out the log book when we work over 12 hours, but now our employer wants one every day. Which, to me, is unnecessary. But, question is this – If we are using this trip sheet AND we also fill out a log book, would that not be considered running 2 log books?

  • January 18, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Joe: I apologize for the late reply. You are right. This time would be on-duty time. It would not be considered “driving” time according to the safety regulations, due to the GVWR of the vehicle. It would be on-duty (not driving) time, which would go on Line 4 of your log. It would count against your 70 hours. It would not be a violation.

  • January 18, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Well, the employer can ask you to do more than the rules require. You are allowed to “run 2 logbooks” as long as both match. In other words, it is not uncommon for a truck driver to complete a log each day, and punch a time clock at the same time. However, they must match. If I punch in at 6am, and punch out at 5pm, and on my log, I log 8 hours of duty time, instead of the 11 I worked, that is a false log. This will often happen simply because the driver is neglectful or lazy. If you are doing it the way you described, you must make sure those logs match the time sheets.

  • January 21, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Do you have to run a log book on a 1 ton pulling a gooseneck trailer whith a backhoe on it if you are not going over 100 miles?

  • January 26, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Does “air miles” mean nautical miles? We occasionally send trucks from Sea-Tac to Blaine which is 109 statute miles in a straight line, but only 92 or so nautical miles. Do they need logbooks for that run?

  • January 28, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Generally no, but you need a time sheet, with the time started, time finished, and total number of hours worked that day. You also have to be back within 12 hours, otherwise you need the logbook.

  • January 28, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Yes, it does, ‘air miles’ means nautical miles. In your example, as long as they are back within 12 hours, you can keep the drivers’ time on a time sheet.

  • February 10, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    We have a non-CDL driver that drives a NV2500 cargo van pulling a trailer total weight would be >10,001 lbs. He is crossing state lines and we have a DOT number. We have two routes that is out of the 100 mile radius from the main office. Is he required to have a medical card? Also, does he need to keep a log book? The most he would drive on those routes is 12-14 hours round trip and he is back home. Does he need to keep the log book records on routes where he is within the 100 miles?

  • February 23, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Yes, he would need a medical card. If your rig is non-CDL, he can drive up to 150 air miles from the office, without a log. You need to record the time the driver started work, the time he finished, and the total number of hours worked that day. He also needs 10 hours off-duty in-between shifts.

  • March 9, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    I have a cdl and i only drive a truck maybe once
    Every one or two week.i dont even drive more then
    20 miles .i get payed by the hr. So do i have to
    Fill out a log book even driving my own personal
    Car i dont go over 150 miles in a week.

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