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The 7-step accident procedure

When an accident happens, immediate action is necessary. Complete the following steps as soon as possible after an accident.

Internet image used from a November crash

1. Stop immediately. Remain calm and pull your vehicle as far off the road as possible. Failing to stop is a disqualifying offense (see Sec.383.51 and Sec. 391.15 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs)). Also, if you fail to stop, you could face a fine and/or jail time.

2. Prevent additional accidents. Turn on the vehicle's four-way flashers and then set out emergency warning devices. These devices (reflective triangles) must be set out within ten minutes of stopping.

3. Check for injuries. If anyone is hurt, call for medical assistance.

4. Notify law enforcement. When contacting law enforcement, state the location of the accident, number or vehicles involved, and number of people involved.

5. Document the accident. Detail is important. When documenting an accident, include the following information:

- Time and Location,

- Description of damage to vehicles/property,

- Names and addresses of all involved,

- Names and addresses of insurance companies of all involved,

- Type, make, model, license number of all vehicles involved, and

- Name(s) and department(s) of investigating officers(s).

Also, draw a simple diagram of the accident scene.

6. Notify your motor carrier. Follow your motor carrier's notification policies/procedures. Be cooperative. Answer all questions posed by motor carrier representatives.

7. Complete a preliminary report. A preliminary accident report is often used as part of a motor carrier's investigation into the accident. Depending on motor carrier policy, this type of report is completed by the driver or a representative of the motor carrier.

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