The DOT Post Accident Checklist

Wouldn’t it be great if accidents didn’t happen? No stubbed toes, no blurry photographs, and no errors costing your baseball team the game would make for a much more predictable and easy path through life.

Unfortunately, we’re all very aware that this is not the case, and it’s why we need to exercise caution as we go about our daily lives. This is especially true when we’re operating a vehicle, and even more critical when that vehicle is a large, commercial one.

As unpredictable as a trucking accident can be, what comes after one is not. The Department of Transportation has prescribed a strict protocol for dealing with an accident, which determines a course of action that should help to limit the chances of one happening again.

First, make sure that the vehicle you’re driving requires a CDL. It will only fall under these guidelines if it does. If someone involved in the accident is dead within 8 hours of the accident, a drug and alcohol test must be performed immediately. If a fatality occurs after those 8 hours, but within 32, then only a drug test should be performed. This is because an alcohol test will no longer be accurate enough.

If there are no fatalities in the accident, but there are injuries that require off-site treatment and the driver was cited within 8 hours of the accident, then the driver must undergo drug and alcohol testing. The same applies if a driver is cited within 8 hours and a vehicle needs to be towed away from the scene, even if there are no injuries. In both of these cases, if a citation occurs after 8 hours but within 32 hours, only a drug test should be performed. Again, this is due to the inaccuracy of alcohol tests so long after the incident.

To ensure that a driver’s rights are protected and that the cause of an accident is properly identified, both drivers and their employers should know exactly what to do if disaster strikes. For more information on commercial truck driving, or for driver staffing and placement services in Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, stay tuned in to Platinum Drivers.