How To Read Your Texas Crash Report
Wichita Falls attorneys with you every step of the way
Obtaining and understanding your Texas Crash Report is not a quick or simple thing to do.
There is an application process to navigate, a fee to pay, and the report is largely written in numerical code.
If you were in a bad car accident in Texas, you are almost certainly going to need to get your Texas Crash Report to make a successful injury claim. That’s why it’s important that you understand how to read this critical piece of evidence.
Hoover Rogers Law, LLP, a personal injury law firm serving the Wichita Falls area, has compiled information here about how to get and read your crash report, as well as translations for common codes.
After a bad accident, you have the right to have an attorney represent your claim and negotiate with the insurance companies for maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact us to get a free injury case review and learn more about what Hoover Rogers Law can do for you.
In the meantime, here’s how to get and read your Texas Crash Report.
How To Get Your Texas Crash Report
Typically, you obtain your Texas Crash Report online from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). This document is also known as a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). It costs $6-$8 to purchase a copy. It can take up to around 20 days to receive the report by mail. If it is available online, you can usually access the report soon after paying the fee.
In Texas, police are required to write up crashes for all reported traffic accidents that involve death, injury, or more than $1,000 in property damage. Typically, this is done within 10 days of the accident.
The report template includes optional and mandatory data fields. Among the data police must not leave out is information about date, time, weather conditions, a diagram of the crash, street names, traffic control elements, and contributing factors, among other information.
If information is lacking at the time the report is filed, a supplement can be added to it later.
How To Read Your Crash Report
To help people locate the information they need quickly, most crash report information fields are numbered. Texas Crash Reports also include a “narrative” of the accident from the point of view of the responding police officer.
Along the top of the page, an officer can identify special accident-related conditions including whether the crash was fatal, involved a commercial truck, school bus, or school zone, and whether the report is a supplement to the original.
Next to this is the “total number of units.” This is a reference to how many vehicles, people, or other entities were involved in the crash. For example, a crash involving 2 cars, 2 pedestrians, and a train would be counted as 5 units, sometimes reported as “005.”
This area of the report also includes a field for the total number of people involved in the accident and the accident’s TxDOT Crash ID.
Identification & Location (Boxes 1-4)
The first subset on this page is the “Identification and Location” section. This includes the exact location, date, and time of your accident.
The time of the crash is reported in “military time,” which is based on 24 hours. So, for example, 1330 in military time is 1:30 p.m. on a 12-hour clock.
Vehicle, Driver & Persons Involved (Boxes 6-27)
Here is where you will find a summary of the vehicles, people, and severity of injuries and vehicle damage related to the crash.
Box 10-11 will tell you whether the person is a licensed driver. If there is a “5” in the DL and/or CDL boxes, they are most likely unlicensed drivers.
Box 14 communicates injury severity per person involved using a numbered code created by TxDOT. Some of the most commonly used codes are:
- A - Suspected serious injuries like deep lacerations, crush injuries, skull damage, unconsciousness, paralysis
- B - Non-incapacitating injuries like bruises, abrasions, or small cuts
- C - Possible injury. Injury is claimed and reported or indicated by behavior but without visible wound
- K - Killed. An accident is considered to include a fatality if an involved person dies within 30 days of the crash due to injuries sustained in the accident
- N - Not injured.
- 99 - Unknown whether injuries exist
Boxes 17-25 provide information about whether the people involved were using safety equipment like seatbelts or, in the case of motorcycles, helmets, as well as whether the person tested positive for drugs and/or alcohol.
If a drug or alcohol test was taken, Box 24 will contain available test results. In this section, the code means:
- 1 – Positive test results (drug or alcohol is allegedly detected in the system)
- 2 – Negative
- 97 – Not applicable
- 99 – Unknown
Box 26-27 explains the type of insurance carried by those involved as well as the name of and location for any trucking company called in to tow away crash vehicles.
Box 27 is the “vehicle damage rating.” The VDR code uses letters and numbers. This section also includes a diagram of vehicle damage with arrows pointing to damage location, letters that indicate force direction (XX), damage description (ABC), and damage severity on a scale of 0-7.
Texas has a vehicle damage rating code for special circumstances as well. For instance, MC-1 means a motorcycle is involved.
The first several sections on this page are self-explanatory: the treatment centers to which injured people were transferred, charges filed against those involved, and a summary of property damage.
Note that whether charges are filed or the at-fault driver is found guilty in a criminal case does not limit your right to file a civil lawsuit against negligent drivers. A reckless driver can be found not guilty in criminal court but still responsible for the accident in civil court.
H3 CMV (Boxes 30-35)
“CMV” stands for commercial motor vehicle. This may refer to large trucks like semis and 18 wheelers, as well as buses and trucks carrying hazardous materials.
In general, a fully loaded tractor-trailer weighs up to 80,000 lbs. If a truck was involved in your accident, its weight will be listed next to the abbreviations GVWR or RGVWR (Registered/Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.
If hazardous materials were involved, that will be noted in Box 32 with a number code. Typically, any number in this box indicates the presence of some type of hazardous material.
There may be multiple “Box 35” spaces on your report. Each number here is associated with a crash event like rollover or jackknife.
How The Accident Happened (Boxes 36-41)
In this section of the report, which is toward the bottom of page 2, the officer lays out how they think the crash happened.
Box 36-37 details the factors and conditions a cop believes led to the crash. There are categories for contributing and “may have” contributed factors. Some of the most common codes recorded in box 36 include:
- 4 – Unsafe lane-change
- 15 – Disregard for traffic light or stop sign
- 19 – Distracted driving
- 32-39 – Various failure-to-yield situations
- 40 – Fatigued or drowsy driving
- 44 – Followed too closely (tailgating)
- 45 – Had been drinking
- 52 – Oversized vehicle or load
- 60 – Unsafe speed
- 63-66 – Improper turn
- 67-68 – Operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- 73 – Road rage
- 74-77 – Distracted by or otherwise using a cell or mobile phone
Box 37 lists any vehicle defects that contributed, or may have contributed, to the accident. Code in this section includes:
- 5 – Defective or no headlights
- 8 – Defective turn signal
- 10 – Defective or no brakes
- 12 – Defective or slick tires
In the following boxes, 38-44, the officer records information about environmental and roadway conditions as well as traffic control measures present at the time of the crash.
This page is often the most straightforward and comprehensive of the report because it uses very little code. This is where the officer writes their version of events, or “narrative.” This outline is often accompanied by an accident diagram that shows vehicle positions in the crash.
The crash report concludes with information about the responding officer, who they are, when they arrived at the crash, and the agency for which they work.
For a complete translation of the Texas Crash Report codes and more information about the document, visit TxDOT online.
Click here to download a complete printable version of the How To Read Your Texas Crash Report infographic.
The right law firm is the difference between winning and losing
After a bad car accident, there is a lot of work to do. Obtaining and understanding your Texas Crash Report is just one of the many steps required in pursuit of a winning injury claim.
Let Hoover Rogers Law, LLP take care of your claim while you focus on healing.
Our personal injury law firm puts in hard work and long hours to get everything possible out of our own investigation into your accident. We turn up evidence that may have otherwise gone unnoticed and put together aggressive game plans the insurance companies can’t ignore.
When it comes time to negotiate for your settlement, we are backed by the full firepower of our investigation and deep knowledge of Texas accident and liability laws.
Hoover Rogers Law’s attorneys are focused on car accidents in the Wichita Falls & Lawton area. If you were injured in an accident, contact us to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about how we can help you fight for maximum compensation for your claim.