What are supporting Documents?
The purpose of supporting documents are to help verify the accuracy of driver’s HOS and records of duty status (RODS).
Any document that the driver puts his or her hands on – may become part of the log book. The DOT may ask to see the toll-receipts, fuel receipts, scale tickets, meal receipts, etc.
Fuel receipts are of interest because they can be directly matched against the log book duty status, and show a location and time. The RODS should show an on-duty status when fueling. What can happen is a driver pulls in to a truck stop, goes off duty to start his ten hours and then fuels the truck. This could be considered a false log, if audited.
When a fleet has more than 10% false logs, things can start to get interesting. The motor carrier can get fined. The motor carrier can be ordered by the DOT to start keeping certain supporting documents. Motor carriers have also been ordered to install electronic logging devices (for a “pattern of violations).
Key Elements of Supporting Documentation
A supporting document should contain the following information:
• Driver’s full name
• Trip number and power unit number
• Location – City and State
TRIP ENVELOPE – Should have trip number & tractor number listed.
If a lumper is authorized on the load, there should be a lumper receipt with lumper name, social security number, location service occurred, and the amount paid.
For a dropped load, there should be a copy of all of the bill of ladings. On the bill of ladings and trip envelope it should be noted by the driver that the load was dropped. If possible the bill of ladings should be signed by a guard, receiver or consignee and time stamped to verify when the driver was there.
For relayed loads, the trip envelope should note the location, date and time that the relay took place. (Relay load – a driver only takes a load a portion of the way, usually for the
duration of one shift — eight to 10 hours. The driver then turns the truck over to another driver to continue the trip.)
Motors carriers are required to have a system in place to check logs. One tool is supporting documents.
I recommend checking at least 25% of all drivers logs. If a driver is new, perhaps check 100% of his logs for the first six months.
Motor carriers get in trouble assuming drivers know how to properly log. Years ago, one of my first clients hired a driver with five years experience. The problem was he drove mostly local, intrastate and did not know how to log. He could make his grid lines but kept going over 70 hours. Nobody checked the logs until the company was audited by the DOT. The motor carrier ended up up a $10,000 fine for repeated violations (they appealed and paid about $2,000). Another of their drivers was arrested in Georgia for a false log. He didn’t know how to log either.
So check your drivers logs. Verify their hours of service with supporting documents. Have a system in place to keep supporting documents for at least six months and be able to match them to the logs.
If you don’t, things can get real interesting . . .
Many motor carriers have never been audited by the DOT and could be in for a shock when their logs are checked. In fact, the new ELD Rule mandates 8 supporting documents per each 24 hour period. If your motor carrier is not doing anything with supporting documents (a relatively new rule since 2004), then there is no better time than now to start.
Thank you for reading this.