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Hours of Service: Supporting documents
  • “Supporting documents” must be retained by drivers and motor carriers to assist auditors in verifying compliance with the HOS rules.
  • Because ELDs are used to track driving time for most drivers, supporting documents are only needed to verify on-duty (not driving) time.
  • Drivers using paper or digital logs instead of ELDs will need to submit toll receipts in addition to other supporting documents.

Drivers and motor carriers must retain certain documents that an auditor can use to verify that the driver and carrier are complying with the hours-of-service (HOS) rules. These documents are known as “supporting documents” and are required under 395.11.

Motor carriers must retain all supporting documents at their principal places of business for six months from the date of receipt. Because electronic logging devices (ELDs) are used to track driving time for most drivers, supporting documents are only needed to verify on-duty (not driving) time. Drivers using paper or digital logs instead of ELDs will need to submit their toll receipts in addition to the other supporting documents listed below. See 395.8(k)(1) and 395.11.

Drivers using the 150-air-mile short-haul exception are exempt from the supporting-document requirements.

Motor carriers need only keep documents that are “generated or received in the normal course of business.” They do not need to create supporting documents from scratch.

Supporting Document Requirements

Types of documents to retainThe following categories of documents are considered supporting documents:
  • Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or equivalent documents that show the origin and destination of each trip;
  • Dispatch records, trip records, or equivalent documents;
  • Expense receipts (for meals, lodging, fuel, etc.);
  • Fleet management system communication records; and
  • Payroll records, settlement sheets, or equivalent documents showing payment to a driver.

Toll receipts are also required for drivers using paper logs.
ContentsSupporting documents must contain:
  • The driver’s name or a carrier-assigned identification number, either on the document itself or on another document enabling the carrier to link the document to the driver, or the vehicle unit number if that number can be linked to the driver;
  • The date;
  • The location (including the nearest city, town, or village); and
  • The time.
Number to be retainedCarriers do not need to keep more than 8 supporting documents for each driver for each 24-hour period. However:
  • If a carrier has more than eight documents for a driver, the carrier must retain the first and last documents for that day.
  • If a carrier has fewer than eight documents with all four information elements, then a document that does not include the time can also serve as a supporting document.
  • For drivers using paper logs, all toll receipts must be kept in addition to the eight required documents.
Driver’s roleDrivers who have supporting documents in their possession must make them available for inspection. They must submit supporting documents within 13 days of either (a) the 24-hour period to which the documents pertain or (b) the day the document comes into the driver’s possession, whichever is later.
How to keep themSupporting documents must be kept in such a way that they may be effectively matched to each driver’s logs. Supporting documents must not be obscured, defaced, destroyed, mutilated, or altered. They can be stored electronically.

Logs and other documents must agree

Although a driver’s log is not directly related to other paperwork, there is often an indirect relationship. This shows up most often as a discrepancy between the log and other documents such as shipping papers, accident reports, fuel receipts, GPS records, etc. The first implication is that there has been falsification, but it may also indicate the driver is not keeping records current — not only to the last change of duty status but even on a daily basis — and is relying on memory to complete the logs.

Note that logs and payroll records do not always have to match perfectly. Drivers who are relieved of duty can log “off duty” while still being paid, for example.