Big Rig Risks & Hazards: Not following the law when you have an accident in your big rig will leave you open to tickets, fines and lawsuits. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial transportation and maintains records of all accidents involving commercial trucks on roads in the United States.[/box]
[box type=”shadow”]Post-Accident Alcohol Use
Drivers subject to post-accident alcohol testing cannot drink alcohol until they take a post-accident test or for eight hours after the accident. This law prevents a driver from being able to say that he failed an alcohol test because he had a drink after the accident.
Leaving the Scene
A driver will face suspension of her license for one year after a conviction for leaving the scene of an accident. If she leaves the scene of an accident where she is operating a commercial vehicle transporting hazardous materials, she faces suspension of her license for three years and if she receives a second conviction for the same offense, she will face a lifetime suspension of her license.
When you apply for new employment, you must list any accidents you have been involved in for the three years before the date you complete the application. You will have to include the date, type of accident and any injuries or fatalities caused by the accident.
Refusing to Take a Required Test
You, as a commercial truck driver, cannot refuse to submit to any post-accident test requested by law enforcement officers. If you refuse, your employer cannot allow you to drive or perform any safety-sensitive jobs. In the event of a lawsuit, courts have ruled that refusal to take a post-accident test is the same as submitting to a test and failing to pass.
Assisting in Investigations
The FMCSA requires motor carriers to assist in any investigations of an accident. The carrier must present any records and provide reasonable assistance to any representative of the FMCSA or state or local agency investigating the accident. The carrier must keep an accident register for three years after the accident.