Ask the Safety Rep: What is Required for Accident Recordkeeping?

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Great question! According to Part 390.15(b)(1) of CFR Title 49 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) “For accidents that occur after April 29, 2003, motor carriers must maintain an accident register for three years after the date of each accident. For accidents that occurred on or prior to April 29, 2003, motor carriers must maintain an accident register for a period of one year after the date of each accident.”

Motor carriers can use any type of accident register they please so long as it contains the following information about each accident:

  • A list of accidents (DOT-reportable accidents are defined in §390.5)
  • Date of accident
  • City or town, or most near, where the accident occurred and the state where the accident occurred
  • Driver name
  • Number of injuries
  • Number of fatalities
  • Whether hazardous materials, other than fuel spilled from the fuel tanks of motor vehicle involved in the accident, were released

Great West Casualty Company provides its insureds a free Accident Register booklet that not only meets these requirements but exceeds them by providing extra space for determining preventability and tracking all financial losses incurred.

The regulations require motor carriers to keep copies of all accident reports required by State or other governmental entities or insurers. All records and information about an accident, whether hardcopies or electronic records, must be made available to authorized personnel from the FMCSA, state or local law enforcement, or authorized third-party representatives. Motor carriers are also required to give an authorized representative all reasonable assistance in the investigation of any accident.

Many successful motor carriers maintain an electronic recordkeeping system to track vehicle incidents, near misses, and claim information. This tracking can be done using a simple spreadsheet or can be part of a more robust software package. The benefit of an electronic system is having all accident data in one location. This allows motor carriers to identify negative trends encompassing all incidents, including near misses, and take corrective actions before another loss occurs. Also, the motor carrier can quickly export a report of only DOT-reportable accidents if requested by an inspector.

Call to Action

  • Track all vehicle incidents in a written or electronic recordkeeping system.
  • Implement a near-miss reporting system that rewards drivers for communicating.
  • Conduct a thorough root-cause analysis of each vehicle incident to determine causation and preventability.



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The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent. 

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© Great West Casualty Company 2018. The material in this publication is the property of Great West Casualty Company unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced without its written consent by any person other than a current insured of Great West Casualty Company for business purposes. Insured should attribute use as follows: “© Great West Casualty Company 2018. Used with permission by Great West Casualty Company.”

This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.