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Can you scan and keep a vehicle logbook digitally?

If you’re a heavy vehicle driver who keeps a paper-based logbook, having them hanging around for twelve months takes up valuable space. You can scan them to your computer once you start a new logbook, but there are some conditions and caveats.

Employee drivers

You must keep your old paper logbook with you in the vehicle until the start of your next cumulative work period.

White copy: scan this then discard it (recycling is the best option)

Yellow copy: give it to your employer

Pink copy: you must leave the pink ‘enforce’ copy in the logbook unless an enforcement officer removes it under section 30ZH(3) of the act. This means you still have to store your logbooks and cannot throw them away.

Self-employed driver

Keep your old paper logbook with you until you start your next cumulative work period.

White copy: scan this then discard it

Yellow copy: discard it

Pink copy: you must keep this, as with an employee driver. Store your logbook for 12 months after the date of the last entry.


If you are an employer and you are keeping the yellow copies, it can be onerous if you have 20 drivers or more – you’d end up with 5000-6000 pages by the end of the year. You can scan these yellow copies and then dispose of them.

How should you store driver logbook data?

To meet the requirements of storing a physical document in a digital form, the digital form must be clear and legible. This means that it has to be able to be read if required (something that can be a problem with some drivers’ handwriting. High-speed scanning can struggle to give good quality; you may need to experiment with settings to get the optimal result.

Save the files as .JPG (jpeg) as these have good file size in relation to readability. Formats such as TIF are much bigger and fewer software programmes open them. Make a folder for each month then label the files with the date in reverse, e.g. 2020 08 17.jpg would be the sheet for August 17 2020. Naming them this way means that they retain their date order when in a folder, making it easy for you to sort them.

You must keep the files for at least 12 months.

The file must be easy to retrieve, i.e. it is not acceptable if the files are locked in a vault and the only person who can retrieve them is on holiday for two weeks. This also means that you need to ensure that your data is secure; a cloud-based backup is the best option as it’s available from anywhere, relatively secure, and it won’t be lost if your premises are burgled or burn down, or your hard disk becomes corrupted.

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Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

Posted in Advice
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