Although there are many hard working truck drivers who do their best to drive safety and meet all governmental and state regulations, at times there can be a potential problem that can endanger the lives of everyone on the roadway. These problems can be numerous, but when they occur it is important to report the event in order to ensure that safety is maintained for all drivers, whether on the highway or on rural roads.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are many types of safety violations that require reporting such as:
- Hours of Service: Drivers are required to work a set maximum number of hours in order to prevent fatigue, which can lead to accidents because of tiredness and lack of focus. When drivers record false entries into log books or are asked to drive more hours than allotted, it bears reporting.
- Unqualified Drivers: Drivers that are used by Motor Carriers must be qualified to drive. This typically includes a passing medical examination, certification, passing drugs tests, and other guidelines set forth. Failure to do so will make the situation extremely unsafe, and thus, if a driver is suspected of being unqualified it is imperative that this is reported or a complaint is filed.
- Drugs and Alcohol: It goes without saying that alcohol and/or drug abuse is an intolerable practice that some drivers choose to engage in. Drivers who are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can not only have licenses suspended, but can also face a steep fine.
- Unsafe Equipment: Even if the driver follows all rules and regulations, consideration must also be made to the equipment that is being used. Motor Carrier vehicles that are in poor condition or in need of repair should be reported.
- Additional Complaints: There are many situations in which a situation should be reported, such as lumping, which is the practice in which a driver will pay others to unload cargo, or when a driver is engaging in unsafe or erratic behavior while on the road. If a situation can potentially be dangerous, it is worth lodging a complaint.
Now that one knows what kind of situations bear reporting, it is also essential to understand how to file a complaint in the first place. To do so, one must contact the Department of Transportation directly.
This can be done by visiting the department website or calling the National Consumer Complaint Database at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238).
According to the website, typically consumer complaints are put into the following categories:
- Household Goods
- Passenger Carrier (Motorcoach/Bus/Van)
- Hazardous Materials
Understanding what category your complaint is in is vital when contacting the department.
In addition, the research also notes that, if the complaint is against an intrastate motor carrier, than one must contact the state’s Public Utilities Commission. For the state of Texas, information can be found at the Public Utility’s Commission of Texas’ department website.
Utilizing these resources is imperative for making life on the roadways safe for other drivers and for truckers themselves.
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