Here’s How You Can Report an Unsafe Trucking Company
There’s almost nothing more terrifying than seeing a semi truck driving recklessly. Fortunately, when you witness negligent behavior from a truck driver or trucking company, you have the power to report it to the authorities.
By doing so, you may be able to prevent a deadly truck accident. And even if the worst happens and a wreck occurs anyway, your complaint and the subsequent investigation could serve as important evidence in a truck wreck claim.
Keep reading to learn about three important options you can use to report dangerous and negligent behavior from a truck driver or trucking company.
Reporting Option #1: In an Emergency, Call 911
If you’re witnessing an emergency on the road, call 911 right away. The emergency dispatcher will notify law enforcement authorities or emergency medical services depending on the circumstances. Make sure you give the dispatcher as much information as you can, including a description of the vehicle, its license plate number, its location, and your reason for concern.
Reporting Option #2: File a Complaint With the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
If you find out that a trucking company or truck driver is engaging in negligent behavior, but the situation isn’t an emergency, you should file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as soon as possible (at latest, within 90 days from when you learned about the behavior in question).
The FMCSA is part of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and is responsible for enforcing federal trucking laws and regulations, including:
- Distracted driving: Drivers cannot text and drive or use handheld mobile devices while driving.
- Drunk and drugged driving: The FMCSA prohibits truckers from operating their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Hours of service: FMCSA regulations limit the number of hours a driver can operate a commercial vehicle without taking a rest break.
- Maintenance and inspection: Trucking companies must properly maintain their vehicles and perform routine inspections to ensure their safety.
- Record keeping: Drivers and trucking companies must maintain logbooks that track information like hours on the road and the vehicle’s maintenance schedule. Falsifying or improperly maintaining these logbooks is a serious infraction that comes with significant penalties.
- Speed: Drivers must obey all posted speed limits, and trucking companies may not schedule runs that a driver can’t make without speeding.
These rules apply to all truck drivers and trucking companies that engage in interstate commerce.
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To file an FMCSA complaint, you can either call the agency at 888-DOT-SAFT or fill out their online complaint form. Once you submit a complaint, it becomes part of the trucking company’s permanent record in the National Consumer Complaint Database.
The FMCSA will also investigate your complaint. Depending on what FMCSA investigators discover, the agency can take enforcement actions against the trucking company, including large fines and the suspension of the company’s operating license.
Reporting Option #3: Report Safety Violations to Your State Department of Transportation
In addition to federal truck safety regulations, state and local governments impose their own rules and requirements. If you believe a truck driver or company is violating these rules in your state, you can contact the appropriate state regulatory agency. In Washington, this agency is the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
Safety Violations Are Powerful Evidence in a Truck Wreck Claim
FMCSA and state regulations set the standards that courts apply when they examine truck wreck claims. In some ways, this simplifies the process of proving negligence in a truck crash. When there is evidence that a truck driver or trucking company violated FMCSA rules, it’s automatically considered negligence. From there, you only need to show that the violation caused your injuries and then establish your damages.
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However, proving a violation of an FMCSA rule or other regulation can be a complex process. Agencies don’t initiate enforcement actions for every complaint, even if there is evidence of a violation. Without an enforcement action, you and your attorney will need to thoroughly investigate the wreck and present evidence of any safety violations to a judge or jury.
A skilled truck wreck lawyer can help you document the trucking company’s violations and link them to your injuries after a wreck. This process may involve preserving the trucking company’s logbooks, carefully reviewing their contents and telematics data, and interviewing witnesses. While this is a complex and highly technical process, when you work with an experienced attorney, they should be able to investigate your claim, organize the evidence, and deal with the insurance companies so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact Trucking Attorney Morgan Adams Today
If you have suffered injuries or even lost a loved one in a devastating truck crash, Seattle Truck Law Attorney Morgan Adams is here to help. With years of experience and a sole focus on large vehicle cases, Morgan Adams has the expertise and resources needed to guide you through a complex trucking accident claim and fight for justice on your behalf.
Please contact us at (866) 580-4878 or fill out our online contact form if you need help. We offer free initial consultations to assess your situation and discuss your legal options, and we handle cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we achieve a financial recovery on your behalf.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.