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How To File a Complaint Against a Trucking Company

June 2, 2022 Personal injury

If you see a semi-truck or another type of large truck that looks unsafe or is being driven dangerously, you have the right to file a complaint against the trucking company with the help of a San Diego truck accident lawyer. Doing so can possibly prevent someone from being severely injured in an accident or may even save someone’s life. 

Gather Information First

Before reporting the truck, write down as much information as possible. For example: 

  • The date, time, and location;
  • A description of the truck;
  • Its license plate number;
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number
  • Description of the driver; and,
  • Any company names or logos that were visible on the truck. 

If you have the time, perform a search on your phone to see if you can find the trucking company’s name. Keep in mind that the trucking company’s name can typically be found on the truck’s cab and any logos printed on the trailer often belong to the cargo owner. 

Call 911

If you believe the truck or its driver is an immediate danger to others on the road, call 911. For example, if you see cargo shifting or about to fall, or if the driver is swerving or speeding. The operator will likely ask for all of the information about the truck that you have already written down (e.g., truck description and license plate) as well as the direction in which the truck was heading. Then, an officer will attempt to track down the truck and conduct a traffic stop to investigate. 

Contact the FMCSA

If the truck or its driver is not presenting a safety risk, you can file a complaint online. Complaints against trucking companies can be reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) through their National Consumer Complaint Database. The FMCSA is a division of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and is responsible for enforcing trucking regulations and laws. 

The sooner you file the complaint, the better, but the longest you should wait is 90 days. In your report, you must include: 

  • Your name, address, and telephone number.
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the trucking company.
  • Origin and destination of the shipment.
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) and Motor Carrier (MC) identification numbers if available.
  • Specific violation(s) alleged.

If for some reason, the online portal is unavailable, you may contact the FMCSA Service Desk by emailing FMCTechSup@dot.gov or calling 888-DOT-SAFT to find out how best to proceed. If there is merit to your complaint, the FMCSA will investigate for any violations, which can subject a trucking company to hefty fines and possibly an operating license suspension.

Notify the Trucking Company

San Diego truck accident attorney

A third option is to report a safety violation directly to the trucking company itself. They may begin their own investigation to fix the problem and take disciplinary action against their truck driver if necessary. Some trucking companies have websites with a link to where you can file a complaint online. Many companies would rather take action to resolve an alleged safety violation than risk penalties from the FMCSA.