Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

What Is a Department of Transportation Recordable Incident?

What is a Department of Transportation (DOT) recordable event? How is this information used to shut down bad actors and make the roads safer for motorists, motorcycles, pedestrians, and bicyclists? The DOT does not require truck drivers or trucking companies to report every incident. This means that a significant number of incidents that occur, go unreported. However, when accidents are recorded, this information is used to issue sanctions, make regulatory changes, and to direct enforcement efforts toward problem events.

Department of Transportation Recordable Events

The DOT requires truck drivers and trucking companies to report any commercial motor vehicle accident when the accident results in a fatality. Similarly, personal injuries that require immediate medical treatment away from the site of the accident need to be reported. And, reporting is required when at least one of the vehicles was rendered inoperable in the collision. Drivers and trucking companies must report these incidents regardless of whether it was preventable and irrespective of fault.

Regulations require that truck drivers and trucking companies must maintain thorough records related to the accident for a minimum of three years from the date of the incident. These records must be made available to any authorized Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration agent upon request and to assist in any related investigation of the event. The records must include the date of the incident, the location/city the incident occurred, any injuries or fatalities, and whether the incident resulted in the release of toxic or potentially hazardous materials other than fuel from the vehicle's gas tanks.

The Department of Transportation Shuts Down Dangerous Operators & Bad Actors

The DOT examines the accident frequency of commercial motor vehicle carriers (CMV's.) The agency multiplies the number of DOT-recordable events by a factor of 1 million, then divides that figure by the total number of miles driven by CMV's over the past year. This provides a baseline safety rating. CMV's with an accident rate that exceeds 1.5 per million miles are rated as unsatisfactory and have points added to their safety rating. Those with an overall unsatisfactory safety rating are subject to sanctions and restrictions on the types of materials and the number of passengers they can transport.

The DOT also uses this data to direct attention to the causes of large truck accidents. For instance, drowsy driving, drunk driving, or operating unsafe vehicles. As the number of these types of incidents rises, DOT can increase enforcement efforts towards hours of service regulations, drug/alcohol testing programs, and educational programs designed to reverse emerging large truck accident trends.

Contact Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. Our firm represents clients injured in Department of Transportation reportable accidents in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. Our team will help you recover the compensation you are entitled to receive for your personal injuries, property damage, and the wrongful deaths of loved ones. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.