Accident Register, WHAT, You didn’t know it was Required by FMCSA?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation requires that every carrier keeps an accident register for period of three years.


I hate using the word “accident”. So I will express my opinion here at the front of the blog post. One definition of accident is: “an event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause”.  If we use this definition of accident in trucking, then we would never have an accident.  there is always a cause for collisions in the trucking industry. Therefore, I try to use collision or incident to refer to accidents. However in the FMCSR’s, they use the word accident.


You are required to keep an “accident register” for a period off three years.  By regulation you must record the following: date and hour of accident, location of accident, which will include street address, city, and state or province; Number of deaths, number of nonfatal injuries, whether hazmat was released, drivers name, and state whether you have a copy of the state/province or insurance report. This is all that is required. 10 items for a period of three years.

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But that is not enough. This does not give a safety manager or risk manager enough information to analyze in order to avoid future loss. Isn’t that the job of the risk/safety manager. We must reduce collisions! Therefore, it is necessary to expand on what is required by FMCSA, so that we have good data to analyze. As an example, they don’t ask you to list the type of collision. By way of an example type of collision could be a rear end or a lane change collision. How can we correct driver behaviour we don’t know the type of collision?


This is why I’m giving away my collision analysis spreadsheet or often called Accident Register. This is the type of information that should be tracked and analyzed. It will help you discover possible areas of training for your drivers. Through training you can change driver behaviour.


 What information have I chosen and believe should be tracked in an Accident Register?

Let’s go through it:

  1. “Carriers claim file number”. this number is for your reference and tracking system. Each collision needs to have its own file folder and I recommend that each file folder be in numerical order.
  2. “Insurance claim number”. Recording the insurance claim number gives you quick reference to this number so that when you are making inquiries and notes you can refer to this quickly and pass it on to those who also need it.
  3. “Date”. (DOT Required) Of course you need to know what date this happened. Make sure that you record the date in the same format, all the time. This allows other people to read your date format and know what date it is.
  4. “They of the week”. This is important so that you can track and see if one or two days of the week tend to produce more collisions than other days. If that is the case, then you need to investigate as to why does this day of the week at more collisions associated with it than others. Are there more trucks on the road that particular day? Drivers not as experienced? Is there more traffic that day? Is it the types of questions that you may need to ask?
  5. “Time”. (DOT Required) For the same reasons as above, you need to know the time of the collision. For instance, one carrier that I was working with had collisions spread throughout the 24-hour window. There was no pattern at all. When we discussed this situation my client, they soon realized that there really was a pattern. Since most of his drivers operate between 6 AM and 10 PM, to have the same number of collisions when most of the trucks were shut down and off the road during the wee hours of the morning was an alarming statistic.
  6. “Province or state”. (DOT Required) For all the reasons previously stated you need to know the locations of your collisions and incidents.
  7. “Street Address or Nearest City”. (DOT Required) an obvious need for any collision record.
  8. “First name”. (DOT Required) the first and last name of your driver are required information.
  9. “Last Name”. (DOT Required)
  10. “Age”. you will want to know the age category of who is having your and incidents or collisions. Is a driver over the age of 65 or under the age of 30? As a risk manager you need to know!
  11. “CVOR Recordable?” Is this collision going to show up on your CVOR or National Safety Code Number Provincial profile? You need to track these things.
  12. “# Number of Fatalities”. (DOT Required)
  13. “# of Non-Fatal Injuries”. (DOT Required) Please remember that if there is an injury and later that person dies as a result of their injuries, you may or mayn’t be required to perform a Drug and Alcohol post-accident test. Here is the FMCSR quote “The employer is not required to conduct any tests for cases in which the fatality occurs outside of the 8 and 32 hour time limits.”
  14. “# of Vehicles Towed” You need to know this and whether your operator received a citation for a moving violation, so that you know whether to perform post-accident testing.
  15. “HM Released”. (DOT Required)
  16. “Citation Issued”. The reason I added this column is so that you don’t forget to ask, because this helps to remind you about the post-accident drug testing requirements.
  17. “DOT Recordable”. You want to know if this is a DOT Recordable collision. You need many things if it is.
  18. “To be used in the Per Mile Calculation?”. The Per Mile calculation is a way to measure the performance of your company to the industry.
  19. “Preventable”. Please remember, that Preventable and “At Fault” are not the same.
  20. “Dispatcher”. I have added this for those companies that have more than 1 dispatcher. You can track the dispatcher’s collision rate. If one has more incidents then the average, then why?
  21. “Collision Type”. You absolutely need to know what types of collisions your fleet and drivers are having. Only in this way can you train and then change their behaviour.
  22. “Copy of Prov/State or Insurance Report”. (DOT Required) This is a requirement of DOT and very good business practice. This may give you added incite to the cause of the collision.
  23. “Description”. By putting a short description here on this form, it prevents you from always digging out the file and finding the description there.
  24. “Total $’s”. Just that, the total cost of the whole and complete claim.
  25. “Status”. Is this claim still Open or has it now been closed. You as the Risk Manager what to keep track of the claims and their associated costs. If it is closed you no longer have to track it, well at least in most cases.
  26. “Tractor #”. This is the tractor or unit number of the truck involved in the crash.
  27. “$’s”. Here you input the cost of repairs or damage to the Tractor unit.
  28. “Trailer #”. You need to keep track of the unit involved in the crash.
  29. “$’s”. This is following the trailer number so this is for the damage costs to the trailer
  30. “Cargo Type or Item(s)”. This is where you can indicate if this was a refer load, dry good, machinery etc… You may also be more specific and state things like “Auto Parts”.
  31. “$’s”. How much was the damage to the load?
  32. “Claimant”. Who is looking for payment for the claim or who is the claiment?


As you can see, I have added 22 more columns to the 10 that are required by the DOT Accident Register. I have left this is Excel format so that you can edit it and make it even more useful for yourself.
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I again ask that you do not distribute it to others and certainly don’t sell what I give you for free. Thanks.


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