Accident Registers and What is a Recordable Crash?
August 5, 2016
Author: Courtney Koob
Accident registers are a vital tool for motor carriers in implementing safety practices for their drivers. In analyzing these records, carriers can identify areas in their businesses that need improvement such as driver training and vehicle maintenance.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all motor carriers to document and have specific details readily available on all recordable accidents that occur. In order for a crash to be “recordable”, it must result in one or more of the following: a fatality, bodily injury that needs immediate off-site medical attention, or disabling damage to an involved vehicle that results in towing. The FMCSA uses information from accident registers and reports in their Safety Management System (SMS) to identify unsafe motor carriers. Based on the carrier’s SMS rating, the FMCSA will intervene as necessary in an effort to increase public safety.
Accident Registers are required by law, therefore it is important for employers and their drivers to know what should be included in them. The record must contain the date of the accident, the city and state where the accident occurred, the driver’s name, the number of injuries and fatalities, and whether any hazardous materials were spilled – other than fuel from the tanks of involved vehicles – onto the roadway. A carrier should also maintain copies of any accident reports that are required by the state, government entities, and insurers. These records should be kept on file for three years following the date of the accident.
In addition to maintaining accident records, carriers should also implement a plan for post-accident substance abuse testing. An employer is legally required to test a driver for controlled substances and alcohol every time there is a human fatality. When the driver is issued a citation, substance abuse testing is also mandatory when disabling damage is done to an involved vehicle or when someone is injured and seeks immediate off-site medical treatment.
The FMCSA imposes many rules and regulations with public safety as the ultimate goal. For motor carriers, implementing these regulations can seem tedious and time consuming; however, maintaining accurate accident registers can be beneficial to employers. Insurance carriers rely heavily on safety data issued by the FMCSA and other agencies in determining their rates. Recording accidents properly is a great step in compliance with government laws, but employers should be using these records to improve driver safety programs as well. In doing so, motor carriers can improve public safety on the roadways and also work to improve their SMS scores which can result in lower insurance rates for their businesses.
|I am an Account administrator in the National Specialized Transportation Division. I have been with Cottingham & Butler for just over one year. Outside of work I enjoy hiking and spending time with family.