How to Report an Unsafe Truck Driver

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If you are like many Texas drivers it may seem like an all too often occurrence for you to witness unsafe truck driving behavior. You may observe truckers following too closely, cutting into occupied lanes, driving with unsecured cargo, swerving and speeding, or committing a host of other potentially lethal driving offenses. You may also have wondered what, if anything, you can do to stop this reckless behavior. Often the best option is to report it.

The Importance of Reporting Unsafe Truck Drivers

Many people tend to shy away from reporting unsafe truck drivers for a very simple reason: it can seem like a hassle. Certainly it will take a few minutes of your time, but by doing so you may be protecting countless future drivers from property damage, injury, or even death. Another common reason people don’t report unsafe truck drivers is because they are unaware of how to do so and the proper information needed. Below we will walk you through the process to make it easy to report unsafe truck driving.

Reporting to FMCSA

The government agency responsible for regulating safety in the trucking industry is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In most cases, the FMCSA is the best entity to report unsafe driving practices. This can be completed online at the FMCSA National Consumer Complaint Database at the following web address: http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov/

If it is between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday-Friday Central Time, then you can also call the Safety Violation Hotline at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238).

When you make your report you will need to provide one of the following three types of information to identify the trucking company:

  • Company Name – If you do not know the full name of the trucking company you can search the database online by typing part of the name.
  • US DOT Number – The US DOT Number is a unique number assigned to trucking companies that transport cargo between states. By law it must be displayed on the side of the truck.
  • MC Number – The MC Number, also called the Docket Number, is the motor carrier identification number that was given to the company by the FMCSA to show that the company has applied for operating authority. Though the MC Number can be used when filing the report, it is not required that the trucking company post the MC Number on the truck, making this the hardest of the three options for identification.

Other Useful Information

If you are filing your report online at the National Consumer Complaint Database you will also be asked to mark which, if any, of the following apply:

  • The safety issue involves Interstate transportation (between two or more states).
  • The safety issue involves Intrastate transportation (within one state).
  • The safety issue involves Hazardous Materials.
  • The safety issue involves Passenger Carriers.
  • The violation occurred within the last 60 days.

You will also be asked to provide your name and other contact information, but the FMCSA will protect your privacy. In addition to this information, it is also helpful to provide information about the incident; such as the following:

  • Description of the incident
  • Date the incident occurred
  • Time of day the incident occurred
  • Roadway name and/or mile marker where the incident occurred
  • License plate number of the big rig truck
  • Distinguishing marks or features of the truck

If you are unable to remember, or weren’t able to acquire any of the above information, often the FMCSA can still process your report. It is important to remember that above all else you need to exercise safety. Don’t attempt to gather or record the above information if it will endanger you to do so. Have someone else in your car take notes or wait until you have reached safety to make your report.

Reporting to the Trucking Company

Some trucking companies take safety complaints very seriously and they may have posted a bumper sticker, tire flap, or other identifying information on the truck with a number motorists can call to report unsafe truck driving. Often a contact number for the trucking company can also be found online or in a phone book. Many trucking companies will appreciate the feedback and work to resolve it. It is often best to report the incident to the trucking company in addition to the FMCSA rather than instead of. The FMCSA has the legal authority to handle the complaint and to impose penalties if necessary.

Truckers Reporting Dangerous Trucking Companies

Some truck drivers may wish to avoid unsafe, illegal activities but feel pressured by their trucking company to not report the activity. If you are a truck driver in this situation, or if you know a truck driver who is, reports can also be filed anonymously by truck drivers on the Safety Violation Hotline at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238).

Reporting unsafe truck driving is a major resource you can use to make our roadways safer for everyone. If you or your loved ones were involved in a trucking accident, then it is important that you protect your legal rights. Accident litigation provides a strong deterrent to unsafe trucker behavior and also serves as an excellent tool for improving the overall safety of the roads.


Located in Beaumont, Texas, the Law Offices of Clay Dugas & Associates, P.C. represents injury and accident victims from throughout Orange County, Hardin County, Jefferson County, and the surrounding areas of East Texas, including those from cities such as Port Arthur, Vidor, Houston, Winnie, Galveston, Conroe, Jasper, Woodville, Lufkin, Lumberton, Austin, Dallas San Antonio, and people from areas of Southwest Louisiana such as Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish.
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