A truck driver’s worst nightmare, apart from a serious accident, is to be pulled over by the highway patrol and told their truck was to undergo a full inspection. In most cases, there is only one reason for this – the highway patrol officer has already noticed problems. It is mandatory for truck drivers to perform a pre-trip inspection of their trucks. Some drivers, over time, do this rather casually, giving their truck a quick once over rather than doing any specific checks. A closer inspection may have found a number of faults that needed attention.
Log books are another curse for truck drivers, yet they needn’t be. It really doesn’t take that much time to keep a log book up-to-date. Some log books have a pre-trip inspection section that a driver can fill out for each trip. Some log books have a detailed pre-inspection check list for a driver to follow. That log book with detailed check list could well save you a lot of time out on the road – rather than a log book, it becomes a record of your driving and pre-trip inspections. If pulled over and your log book is examined, officers can quickly see that you have been diligent. If there are no obvious faults, and there shouldn’t be if your inspection was accurate, then there is a much smaller risk of a complete roadside inspection – one that can take a long time and which will cost you miles and dollars.
Whilst your log book may seem like a waste of time, in the long run it will save you time. By diligently keeping it up-to-date, you’ll certainly avoid any costly penalties for not keeping an accurate log. As a side note – most employers appreciate a thorough pre-trip inspection. Small faults are quickly rectified, leading to less lost time. If small faults are not rectified quickly, they can develop into much bigger, more expensive and more time consuming problems – a situation no employer wants.
Your truck driver training program should include some time looking at and working on log books. You should also be spending some time on pre-trip inspections during your training. These are basic skills that every employer will expect from new truck drivers.