When are Commercial Drivers or CDL holders required to maintain a Log Book, and when must Log Book entries be presented to a law enforcement officer? : CALIFORNIA DUI and CDL DEFENSE CENTER BLOG

When are Commercial Drivers or CDL holders required to maintain a Log Book, and when must Log Book entries be presented to a law enforcement officer?

by Attorney Felicia Woods-Yates on 03/29/15

When are Commercial Drivers or CDL holders required to maintain a Log Book, and when must Log Book entries be presented to a law enforcement officer? 

California Law requires that a Log Book be maintained, which documents a CDL holders hours of service, whenever they are involved in Intrastate Commerce. Intrastate Commerce takes place when you do not engage in any of the following: 

  • Crossing the state line
  • Transporting cargo which originated from another state
  • Transporting cargo destined for outside of California
  • Transport any hazardous substance or waste (pursuant to Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), §171.8) 

Federal Law requires that a Log Book be maintained by CDL holders whenever they are involved in Interstate Commerce.  A CDL holder is deemed to be involved in Interstate Commerce when the cargo being transported is characterized as follows: 

  • Originates out of state
  • Is destined for an out of state location
  • Consists of hazardous substances or wastes (pursuant to Title 49, CFR, §171.8)
  • Any combination of the above cargo classifications  

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is also authorized to implement additional safety and driving regulations pursuant to California Vehicle Code sections 34501 and 34501.2.  A Log Book, or driver’s record of duty status, must record all of the driver’s hours while on duty.  A driver of a commercial vehicle must comply with the hours of service requirements as outlined by the CFR, Title 49, section 395.8 and the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 13, sections 1201–1213. 

A duplicate of the Log Book must be kept on the possession of each CDL holder whether they are actively driving, riding as a passenger while on duty, or resting in a sleeper berth.  When must a CDL holder present a Log Book to a law enforcement officer in California?  Immediately upon request by any authorized CHP employee, any regularly employed and salaried Police Officer, or any Deputy Sheriff.  Driving hours, due to public safety and other concerns, are treated very seriously by California (under the CCR) and by the Federal government (under the CFR).  Failure to present a Log Book in a timely manner, or having Log Book entries that are out-of-date or not current, are generally not correctable offenses in California, and base bail / fine amounts can range from a low of $238.00, to a high of $695.00 for a single offense!  They are also considered “pointable” violations under several California vehicle code sections.  Having said all that, it does not mean that these types of Log Book violations are necessarily irreversible.  My office has handled many of these types of cases, and based upon evidentiary and/or constitutional grounds, have been successful at obtaining dismissals of underlying Log Book charges.

Since everyone's traffic incident is unique to that individual and the specific circumstances, you should consult with a competent defense attorney to determine your best course of action.  Felicia Yates has been practicing law for over 30 years in California and can be reached at (760) 326-5297, and found at Law Offices of Felicia Yates & Associates.



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