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undefinedRoadside inspections can be stressful for commercial drivers. One of the most common and preventable violations encountered is a form and manner violation. This blog post explores how to avoid these citations and their potential consequences to your commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Understanding Form and Manner Logbook Violations

Form and manner logbook violations pertain to inaccuracies or incompleteness in a driver's Record of Duty Status (RODS) on their electronic logging device (ELD), sometimes called e-logs. 

These violations are very common, accounting for roughly one-fourth of all logbook violations issued during inspections.

The good news? The ELD significantly simplifies keeping your logbook and RODS up to date. Much information, like carrier details and vehicle data, remains constant. However, some items must be changed at specific intervals.

Why They Matter:

While a form and manner violation alone won't sideline you, it can negatively impact your carrier’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) severity score and Safety Measurement System (SMS) percentile. These points are multiplied by “time-weights” depending on the most recent violation.

form and manner logbook violation might only be one CSA severity point, but they add up quickly, and if your most recent violation was less than six months ago, your time-weight multiple is three. The multiplier would be two if it were within six months to a year. 

After one year and up to three years, these CSA points impact the carrier’s SMS percentile and fleet insurance premium for up to two years. Plus, they are maintained on the driver’s Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record for three years. 

Keeping Your Logbook Compliant

Federal regulation (49 CFR §395.8) dictates the specific information required in your ELD, including:

  • Date
  • Daily mileage (recorded at the end of each shift)
  • Total daily hours
  • Carrier name
  • Vehicle/trailer identification
  • Driver signature (full legal name, not initials)
  • 24-hour period start time (typically 9:00 am or 12:00 pm)
  • Fleet headquarters address
  • Co-driver information (if applicable)
  • Shipping documentation details
  • Remarks section

All entries must be up to date as the last change of duty status.

“Every driver needs to prepare a record of duty status for each 24-hour period. Failure to record, complete, or retain the log, or knowingly falsifying logs or other reports, makes the driver and/or carrier liable to prosecution.”49 CFR Part 395.8, 6.4.4 Driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS) FMCSA.   

Maintaining Accuracy

Precision is key. Pre-trip and post-trip inspections require using the full city name and state abbreviation for the location,  for example, "Los Angeles, CA," instead of "LA, CA." These seemingly minor details can help the driver avoid unnecessary form and manner logbook violations.

Updating Your Form & Manner Logbook Entries

Your log must be current when you begin driving and update changes made during your shift. You could use your mandatory 30-minute break to ensure your ELD entries are current. As of the latest changes to the Hours of Service (HOS) regulation, you can conduct driver duties, such as checking the load and others during the break as long as you do not move the truck. 

Language Requirements

Remember, all entries in your ELD and communication with inspectors must be in English, as mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).

How to Mitigate Errors

Despite your best efforts, mistakes can happen, especially during ELD malfunctions that require reconstructing logs. Missing or reconstructed logs can lead to CSA severity points, which will be recorded in the PSP if a driver is cited for a form and manner logbook violation.

Contact Bigger & Harman  

If you are cited for a form and manner logbook violation, consult with Bigger & Harman, APC, who are CA traffic attorneys who frequently assist commercial drivers in resolving violations at the DMV and in Truckee Courthouse. 

Call Bigger & Harman, APC, at (661) 349-9300 — use our contact form to send a picture of your ticket/violation or email

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Download our e-book, Protecting Your Commercial Driver License.


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

The 49 CFR Part 395.8, 6.4.4 Driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS) FMCSA.

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