What Is a DOT-Recordable Accident?

What is a DOT recordable accident anyway? Read on to learn about which accidents meet the Department of Transportation s criteria for being recorded

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What Is a DOT-Recordable Accident?

Not all automobile collisions are the same. Several of them are subject to special regulations administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the US Department of Transportation (DOT). For instance, a serious truck crash would cause the trucking business to notify the DOT which can result in consequences.
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A trucking company’s record of DOT-recordable incidents can result in a reduced safety ranking, increased insurance costs, and decreased business.

Which Accidents Are Required to Be Recorded by the DOT?

The FMCSA is supervised by the US Department of Transportation. All trucking companies are required by the DOT to maintain reports of recordable incidents for a period of at least three years. It utilizes these injury reports to assist in ensuring the safety of the trucking industry. A certain amount of recordable injuries on the report of a trucking business can have detrimental effects for the carrier, including diminished capability. This might potentially prevent further casualties of truck crashes caused by the same incompetent or irresponsible business. A trucking business is required to notify the DOT of a traffic collision that satisfies those criteria.
  • Property damage to one or more cars severe enough to necessitate the use of a tow truck to remove the vehicle(s).
  • Victims sustain injuries that necessitate emergency medical treatment after departing the site of the accident.
  • Truck crashes that result in one or more fatalities.
Regardless to who was at fault, a trucking business is required to report all injuries to the DOT. Sidenote: This provision extends exclusively to road collisions; it does not extend to accidents or injuries sustained when entering or exiting the vehicle, or while loading or unloading freight. Only cars weighing 26,000 pounds or more on an intrastate highway or 10,000 pounds or more on an interstate highway are required to comply with DOT crash recording requirements. Passenger cars transporting more than 15 passengers and those transporting dangerous goods must also notify the DOT of major injuries.
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Steps Required to Report an Accident to the DOT

When a truck crash meets the definition of a DOT-recordable accident, the transport company is required to follow those procedures before filing the accident report and registering. At a minimum, the accident report must include the city in which the collision happened, the date of the crash, the truck driver’s identity, the number of casualties and deaths, any dangerous chemicals were released as a result of the crash, and copies of all relevant accident records. For at least the next three years, the FMCSA and any designated agent must have access to this material.

What Happens After a Trucking Company Notifies the DOT of an Accident?

Commercial carriers are required to preserve DOT-recorded crash data. The DOT will use this data to determine the number of collisions involving the rig, driver, and/or trucking company per million miles traveled in the preceding three years. If a carrier’s accident rate exceeds the permissible rate, it can face fines. The DOT measures the rate by multiplying the number of collisions by one million and then dividing by the carrier’s annual mileage. The DOT’s estimate also takes into account drunk driving accidents, safety violations, and other considerations. The final digit would be used to determine the common carrier’s safety classification.
If a carrier’s safety rating exceeds 1.5 accidents or injuries per million miles, the carrier will receive an unsatisfactory mark, which will result in a loss of two or three points. An overall unsatisfactory rating would result in the business being prohibited from transporting dangerous goods or transporting 16 or more passengers. A pending conditional unsatisfactory rating triggers a 45-day correction period during which the organization can address any outstanding problems before the rating becomes final. If a carrier does not approve, it has the power to apply for a change in ranking.
DOT-recorded accidents and carrier safety scores can be critical in California truck crash claims. A Los Angeles truck accident lawyer will be able to use this knowledge to help create a case against the trucking business or driver. A documented history of neglect and truck collisions can be used against the carrier in the event of an injury lawsuit.

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