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Log Book Violations and Commercial Trucking

The commercial trucking industry is a "highly-regulated industry" and provides an exception to the warrant requirement.


In a Supreme Court decision, a police officer's warrantless search of a cab to inspect the log and related documents of a tractor-trailer fell within the exception to the warrant requirement for inspections of closely-regulated businesses. However, because the regulatory scheme did not contain any language sanctioning the seizure of the log, the officer was required to obtain a warrant before seizing the log books and related documents from the cab, and that evidence should have been suppressed. See Commonwealth v. Petroll, 696 A.2d 817, 830-831 (Pa.Super.1997), aff'd 558 Pa. 565, 738 A.2d 993 (1999) (admission of log book was harmless error).

If you drive a commercial vehicle, you know how important it is to keep a log book. Make sure your book is kept up to date, it's legible, and is easily accessible. Be polite to an officer or trooper that wishes to inspect your log book. Know your rights! If you wish to speak to a lawyer, you may contact Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC (717) 268-4287.