How long before truck company can destroy evidence after accident?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict regulations that dictate when a truck company can destroy documents, including evidence after an accident. Truck carriers can destroy some evidence in as little as six months, while they must keep others for years after terminating an employee. Accident victims in Atlanta should call Jason Schultz at 404-474-0804 for help securing evidence before its destruction.

Length of Time Truck Companies Must Keep Records

The following is the minimum time that truck carriers must maintain specific types of records. This is not a complete list, though, as there are many other types of records and documents that truck companies have in possession that may be pertinent to an accident. If you were in a truck accident, make sure you work with a lawyer to identify, preserve, and obtain the records and evidence you need.

Type of record

Time to retain

Accident reports (§390.15)

3 years after accident

Driver application (§391.21)

Employment plus 3 years

Safety history (§391.23)

Employment plus 3 years

Annual list of violations (§391.27)

3 years

Hours of service records (§395.1)

6 months

Vehicle inspection repair and maintenance (§396.9)

12 months

Driver vehicle inspection reports (§396.11)

3 months

Driver training documentation (§380.509)

Employment plus 1 year

Retention of Drug and Alcohol Testing Records

Per §382.401, the FMCSA also has specific amounts of time that carriers must maintain the results of drug and alcohol testing of its drivers. These records can be especially important if you suspect the truck driver was impaired at the time of the wreck. Eyewitness testimony and the police report can also be crucial types of evidence to prove impairment.

The following are the lengths of time that truck carriers must maintain the results of drug and alcohol testing:

Five years

Carriers must keep for five years records of test results indicating BAC is 0.02 or greater (maximum BAC for commercial drivers is 0.04) as well as any tests that come back positive for a controlled substance. They must also keep documentation of a driver’s refusal to submit to alcohol or controlled substances tests, as well as any driver evaluation documents.

Two years

Records related to the collection process used to obtain the samples.

One year

Carriers must retain any records of negative or canceled controlled substance tests results, as well as any tests results indicating a BAC of less than 0.02.

What is a spoliation letter?

A spoliation letter is a notice drafted by one party that informs the other of a pending lawsuit and requires that the party that receives the letter preserve evidence related to the accident. In many cases, victims of truck accidents will send a spoliation letter to the truck carrier instructing it to preserve records and evidence related to the accident. This prevents the carrier from destroying the records, even after the retention period stated in FMCSA regulations has passed.

Jason Schultz can help you draft the letter and then send it to the truck company. The letter should list specific evidence or records that the carrier should retain. Preserving it can help you bolster your case and establish important details that caused or contributed to the accident, like a driver’s impairment or lack of training, or the poor state of repair of the truck.

Need Help Preserving Evidence? Call Jason Schultz

Fill out our contact form or call us at 404-474-0804 to set up a consultation with Jason Schultz. The consultation is free and allows us to review your case, offer our feedback, and get started on your case so you can pursue fair compensation for your damages.