Company and Driver Liable For Reporting CMV Accidents
Did you know that if a driver of a commercial motor vehicle has a “reckless driving violation”, that driver is 325% more likely to have a future crash? This is why accident information is in CSA data.
There are a lot of rules, regulations, and forms when a CDL driver is involved in a DOT “reportable” accident. Learn what can happen if these forms are not filled out in a timely manner or if a driver doesn’t tell their company of the accident.
What is a DOT “reportable” accident?
Before we start, let’s dive into the federal regulations on what is a “reportable” accident.
Once a crash happens, first determine if it qualifies as a DOT Recordable accident. DOT Recordable accidents include an occurrence involving a commercial motor vehicle that results in (390.5 accident definition (1)):
- An injury requiring immediate medical attention away from the scene.
- 1 or more vehicles incurring disabling damage* as a result of the accident, requiring tow-away from the scene.
A DOT Recordable accident does not include (390.5 accident definition (2)):
- An occurrence involving only boarding and alighting from a stationary motor vehicle.
- An occurrence involving only loading and unloading of cargo.
The DOT does not consider fault or preventability with respect to DOT-recordable accidents. DOT recordable crashes need to be entered on the company’s accident register. Contact the insurance carrier as soon as possible in case an adjuster on site is needed.
- Any fatality.
- Your driver receives a citation:
- Any involved person sustains bodily injury.
- 1 or more vehicles incur disabling damage* as a result of the accident, requiring tow-away from the scene.
When testing is required, it must be done within the following timeframes:
- ALCOHOL TESTING IS TO BE COMPLETED WITHIN TWO HOURS.
- If alcohol testing isn’t completed within two hours, it needs to be done within eight hours.
- If alcohol testing isn’t completed within either timeframe, document why you were unable to complete the test.
- DRUG TESTING IS TO BE COMPLETED WITHIN 32 HOURS.
- If drug testing isn’t completed within the timeframe, document why you were unable to complete the test.
It is important to emphasize that drug and alcohol testing is only required for a reportable crash that involves the driver being issued a citation. Sometimes, the accident does not meet the drug and alcohol testing requirement until days or even weeks after the accident due to a citation not being issued in a timely manner. In these situations, the company should record that the driver did not have a drug or alcohol test and the reason why.
This should be done because if a violation is given in up to 30 days, and the FMCSA is doing an audit on the company, the FMCSA will assume the driver had a drug test, not knowing the details of the accident. When the FMCSA asks where drug test is, the company should be able to point to a record that it was after the 8hr/32hr rule when the accident became a “reportable” accident.
At any time, the DOT can determine a need to audit your required safety records. Prior to an audit, we can review your records. If needed, we can help assist you in preparing. We can even sit with you and your auditor to help smooth the process. Should you need help after an audit to compose an action plan, we can assist there too!
What happens when State accident forms are not filled out in a timely manner?
When a driver is involved in an accident, there are often additional State required accident forms that must be filled out and the reporting criteria is often different than DOT reporting criteria.
Failing to fill out and file these forms with the appropriate State DMV can result in the Drivers CDL being suspended by the State. This means drivers and companies need to not only know how and when to report accidents to the DOT but know state and jurisdiction accident reporting rules in the areas they travel through.