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How To File a Complaint Against a Trucking Company

August 26, 2019

Trucking companies are often guilty of violating safety codes, breaking protocols and cutting corners to save time or money. Unfortunately, these lapses in judgment could cause tragic trucking accidents. If you notice an unsafe truck, driver or company in Colorado, you have the right to file an official complaint. A complaint could prevent a terrible accident before it occurs. If the truck does crash, your complaint could serve as evidence against the trucking company during a truck accident lawsuit or wrongful death claim.

Fleet of commercial trucks

Gather Key Information

Before you make the first call to authorities, gather a few details about the incident. The authority you call will ask questions. Providing thorough and complete answers optimizes the chances of the trucking company facing consequences for its negligence or misconduct.

  • The name of the trucking company (often found on the cab)
  • S. Department of Transportation number
  • Motor Carrier number
  • Description of the truck and its driver
  • Date, time and location of the incident

Write down all the information you can about the truck, truck driver or company. Search the internet for the full trucking company name if the truck did not display it on the cab. Note that the logo or print on the trailer is not necessarily the trucking company’s; it is the company that owns the cargo the trucking company is transporting. Look at the cab of the truck for company information.

Contact the National Consumer Complaint Database

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a database where consumers can file complaints against commercial trucks, cargo companies, buses and moving trucks. Both consumers and vehicle drivers can use the National Consumer Complaint Database to bring complaints against companies.

File a complaint online using the database by answering a few simple questions about the incident, such as the nature of the complaint: truck safety, cargo tank facility, hazardous materials, operating authority or property brokerage. Add as many details as possible to the incident description and submit your complaint. Contacting the federal trucking authority could be appropriate if your case involves intestate transportation. Otherwise, look up the FMCSA field office closest to you to file a local complaint.

If you wish to file your complaint with the FMCSA over the phone, call 1-888-DOT-SAFT to reach the Safety Violation Hotline. From 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday, you can reach a representative at this number to hear your complaint. Filing with the FMCSA could initiate an investigation into the truck company if you file within 60 days of witnessing the violation.

Notify the Trucking Company

The trucking company should also be aware of the alleged safety violation so it can remedy the issue and discipline the driver, if necessary. Notifying the trucking company of the incident or event could potentially prevent collisions involving an unsafe driver or truck in the future. If you know the name of the trucking company, look it up online to find a contact number. Some companies offer portals where you can file a safety complaint online. Otherwise, call the company and describe the incident. Most companies will take prompt action to resolve the issue.

Call 911

If you think the safety violation is an emergency, call 911 to notify the police. An intoxicated or drowsy truck driver, dangerous truck maneuvers, loose cargo loads or a truck that does not appear roadworthy could all be appropriate reasons to dial 911 and report the issue to law enforcement. The police can respond to your call immediately, track down the dangerous truck and conduct a traffic stop. The truck driver may face criminal charges for drunk or reckless driving, along with penalties such as the suspension or revocation of his or her commercial driver’s license. Notifying the police could resolve an emergency before a serious truck accident can occur.