A DOT-recordable accident involves a commercial motor vehicle resulting in a fatality or personal injury to an individual who needs immediate medical treatment away from the accident scene. Moreover, it can cause disabling damage to vehicles, which need to be towed from the scene where the incident occurred.
The DOT has created safety guidelines but cannot keep track of every fender bender that occurs. Therefore, a specific criterion has been established for any accident to be considered a DOT-Recordable accident.
Criteria for a DOT-Recordable Accident
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA), a DOT-recordable accident involves a commercial motor vehicle and can occur on an interstate or at intrastate commerce. In this type of crash:
- A vehicle had to be towed from the scene.
- A fatality has happened.
- An individual requires immediate medical help away from the incident place.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) monitors the transportation industry, including commercial vehicles such as trucks, buses, and other carriers for hire.
DOT-Recordable Accident Statistics
The U.S. Department of Transportation, which oversees the FMCSA, requires carriers to follow specific procedures for tracking severe accidents related to commercial vehicles (CMVs). Accidents that meet the DOT-recording standards are called DOT-recordable accidents.
The commercial provisions of the U.S. Constitution give federal jurisdiction over statistical record-keeping and regulation, as most commercial carriers operate across state boundaries and thus affect interstate commerce.
The carrier is required to maintain certain records related to the accident for three years. The government uses this data to determine the number of such accidents per 10,000 miles traveled.
Can the DOT record any accidents?
The DOT oversees the FMCSA. It requires all trucking companies to keep recordable accident records for at least three years. These accident statistics help to keep the trucking industry safe.
Even if a commercial accident causes internal damage and road rash injury to a motorcyclist, the trucking company’s record needs to mention it. It can have negative consequences for the carrier, such as business restrictions.
This can eventually save you from becoming a victim of other companies’ similar negligence or irresponsible trucking behaviors. Under certain crash conditions, trucking companies are required to report traffic accidents to the DOT:
- When property damage to one or more of the vehicles is severe enough to require a tow truck or flatbed truck to remove the vehicle from the scene;
- When injuries to victims require immediate medical attention;
- When a fatal truck accident causes more than one death.
Trucking companies may report these incidents to the DOT, regardless of who is responsible for the accident. Please note that this rule only applies to traffic accidents. It does not apply to accidents or injuries that occur during the loading and unloading of trucks or cargo.
What Happens If A Truck Company Reports An Accident to DOT?
Commercial trucking companies must maintain a DOT-recordable crash record. The DOT uses this information to calculate the number of accidents involving truck drivers and trucking companies per million miles driven during the past three years. Carriers may be subject to penalties if they exceed the allowable accident threshold.
The DOT examines millions of accidents and calculates a percentage divided by the carrier’s mileage in the past years. DOT also considers drunken-driving accidents, safety violations, and other factors. The final number is used to assess the safety of common carriers.
A pending conditional will check the 45-day period during which the company can fix the issue before the evaluation is done. The airline has the right to petition for an evaluation if it disagrees.
Get in touch with the Law Offices of Samuel Fishman for legal support
Information about DOT-recordable accidents and transporters’ safety assessments are likely to be necessary for truck accident claims. A Philadelphia auto accident attorney can use this information to file a lawsuit against the company or the driver.