It was a quiet day, and the interstate was filled with cars stuck in a traffic jam, the drivers mildly annoyed and showing their frustrations, honking as consistently as they could.
Out of nowhere, a semi approached the traffic at full speed, throwing an ordinary evening into chaos, changing the lives of some people forever, and ending some for good measure. It would later come up that the driver was not appropriately trained and that he had no business driving the truck in the first place.
Sadly, this story is not a novelty by any means. The average driver can truthfully make claims about at least an encounter with a reckless trucker within a year of driving. This isn’t good. Having these sorts of drivers morbidly increases the chances of devastating road accidents. The best thing to do is report these drivers and have them off the road as soon as possible.
Here Is How You Report a Bad Truck Driver
Having a bad truck driver off the streets is the best thing to prevent an accident later on. Before reporting, one must consider the immediate hazard to lives on the road.
If there is immediate danger, the most appropriate thing to do is call 911, the emergency number that has the resources to dispatch emergency services immediately. If there is no immediate risk, the Department of Transportation (DOT)is the best way to go here.
They have a regulatory division called the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), a federal body that deals with the regulation and enforcement of federal trucking laws. You can file a safety violation with them.
There are provisions for you to report the trucker online through the site or by dialing the helpline. The FMCSA processes calls on weekdays from 8 AM – 8 PM. The number is 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238). You can also file a state report.
Behaviors that can be reported include, but are not limited to:
- Over speeding
The speed limits exist for a reason, and truckers drive such unconventional vehicles that they should be hard-pressed to adhere to these speed limits more strictly than other cars
- Drunk driving
Drunk driving is a crime no matter what car is being driven. A trucker driving drunk is a gross disregard of federal road safety rules.
- Not focusing on the road
Being distracted doing things like texting and talking to passengers while driving endangers other cars on the road
- The truck is in bad condition
There is nothing that screams negligence more than a trucker with worn-out tires, broken windshields, unresponsive brakes, and other similar issues. Driving with these shows the driver does not care about what happens to other cars
Should You Report a Bad Truck Driver to the Police?
As mentioned earlier, 911 can be contacted when you notice a truck driving recklessly. When this happens, it is best to allow a passenger in your car to make the call or take an exit off the road and pull over the vehicle before making it.
Following the truck closely is a bad idea, and you are only putting yourself at risk. It is best to keep a safe distance when situations like this occur. When the call is made, details about the truck are needed for optimal action, so it is best to memorize as much as you can about the truck.
Details to Give When Reporting a Trucking Incident
When reporting a trucking company, certain bits of information are needed for the process to be expedited. This aids in the investigation and provides the regulatory bodies incentives to nail the erring driver. Details that should be included in your report should include
- The location of the incident
Knowing the location of the incident would go a long way in indicating the truck driver should it be found out that they crossed a line. There have been cases where truck drivers were reported, and it was found out that they were in places they were not supposed to be
- Date and time of observation
In addition to the location of the incident, this would go a long way in helping authorities investigate the situation appropriately.
- Vehicle description
This should be easy. It is essential to memorize as many details as possible before leaving the scene. Things to remember should include the license plate, the make and model of the truck, the number, the color, etc.
- Other identifying markers
It would be best if you also watched out for logos that might indicate the specific trucking company the truck belongs to
- Description of driver
This also comes in handy for emergency services that might arrive on the scene immediately.
- Your contact information, and details concerning the incident
Should the driver be apprehended and a witness is needed, your contact details would help move the case forward. It would help to mention the trucker’s behavior that warranted your report.
How to File a Report Against a Trucking Company
The process of reporting a trucking company is more or less the same as reporting individual truckers. Trucking companies can be reported by the public or by the truckers they employ. The key things to do when reporting a trucking company include
- Gathering information on the incident
- Documenting (This is especially important for truckers reporting so that the regulatory bodies do not think the complaints are from a place of spite)
- Contact the Department of transportation (the FMCSA specifically), 911, OSHA, or the state department of transportation
Can a Person Report a Truck Driver or Trucking Company Anonymously?
No. Essentially, reports of any type are supposed to be accompanied by names. There is protection for truck drivers and the like who want to report their companies for unsafe practices; however, this protection prohibits the employers from firing employees who report them for unsafe working practices.
As for individual truckers, the public can report anonymously through 911.
You can consider it a civic duty to always report dangerous drivers on the road. This is especially true when those drivers happen to be truckers. The more these drivers are gotten off the road, the safer for everybody.