A false log found itself in the tenth spot out of the top twenty truck driver violations in 2015. By mid-December over 31,500 violations had been reported. Motor carriers are liable for false logs filled out by truck drivers. As such, they need to have the means and methods in place to detect violations.
The best way to identify a false log is to compare it with related documents. If you examine Section 395.8(k) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), you’ll see that fleets are actually required to keep some “supporting” documents for at least six months.
What’s The Motive?
The question is: Why would a truck driver falsify a paper log in the first place? There are a few reasons:
- Not enough time was given for them to make an on-time delivery.
- They were delayed somehow and they are trying to make up for lost time.
- If they are paid by the mile, they may want to maximize their mileage.
- They are behind on paperwork.
- They are anxious to get home.
- They made an honest mistake.
Auditing a log for violations is critical, but the auditing process shouldn’t stop there. Although looking for a falsification is a tedious process, it must be integral step.
What Do You Need?
A Department of Transportation (DOT) interpretation of “supporting” documents include the following:
- Fuel or toll receipts or billing statements produced during the trip.
- “Check calls” produced during any loading or unloading times.
- Bills of lading or specific pick or delivery receipts.
- Dispatch records or relevant call logs.
- Financial or payroll records.
- Expense receipts, I.E. lights, scales, permits, etc.
- Vehicle repair or maintenance receipts.
- Roadside inspection reports.
- Scale clearance records.
- Tracking or other electronic communication records.
By properly studying the materials listed above, you can easily detect incorrect or falsified log entries.
What’s The Process?
First, locate the time and date on whatever supporting document you have chosen. Then, take the truck driver’s log for the day and see if the location matches with the time. They should correlate.
Sometimes you may have to do a deeper interpretation of the numbers. Toll receipts are on example, as they do not have an on-duty time associated with them. As such, you would have to look at the time when the truck driver hit the road and review the time and distance all the way to the toll location.
Another way to check for log falsification is to check “point-to-point” mileages. Using supporting documents that can clearly be tied back to on-duty time, such as roadside inspection or customs clearance paperwork, is a far easier proposition.
By using this process, you are able to find red flags through the use of supporting documents. It’s a simple matter of checking on-duty status for a short change in duty status, and at what time. Of course, don’t forget to account for any time zone changes.
Also remember that in some situations you may need to give a little leeway if the time on the supporting document cannot be validated. There will sometimes be instances where matching supporting documents to logs doesn’t at up.
Which Logs to Verify
One of the main problems with auditing truck driver logs is that the process is very time consuming. As such, it may not be possible for you to check all of the logs, so you must have a process in place to determine which ones merit your attention.
In those situations, consider the following criteria:
- Truck drivers who have been involved in an accident.
- Truck drivers who have had hours-of-service violations.
- Truck drivers who, for any reason, have been placed out of service.
- Truck drivers with a history of hours-of-service violations.
- The previous month’s “top performing” truck drivers.
- Anyone who has never been audited before.
- A truck driver who has been previously disqualified.
- A random selection.
- New truck drivers.
Finally, if you are using some sort of auditing system or automated process, make sure you are absolutely sure of what the system or process is checking. If you need to add manual steps to ensure you are doing a thorough job without being unfair, do it.