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What Are “Chameleon Carriers,” A Dangerous Trucking Industry Trend?

What Are “Chameleon Carriers,” a Dangerous Trucking Industry Trend?

If we’ve learned anything during two years of a global pandemic, it’s the importance of truckers transporting and delivering goods across the country when we need them. But with great importance comes great responsibility.

The trucking industry is a billion-dollar industry. There is significant oversight and regulation for the employees and companies in the massive trucking industry to help ensure the safety of truckers and the general public. Just as with ordinary citizens and laws, however, participants in the trucking industry find ways to violate trucking regulations, dismiss oversight, and avoid just consequences for their dangerous actions. One of those ways is a trend called “chameleon carriers.”

What Are “Chameleon Carriers”?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for oversight of the trucking industry. They have rules and regulations by which trucking companies and their employees have to abide.

When trucking companies and their truck driving employees consistently violate the FMCSA’s regulations or have caused truck accidents and serious harm or death to others due to negligence, their violations and actions are cited in their record. Each trucking company’s safety record will follow them throughout their time in operation because it’s attached to their Department of Transportation (DOT) number. This is to protect the safety of others. But these trucking companies have found a way to bypass being affected by their abysmal safety records.

They’re using what’s known as “chameleon carriers.” Truck companies who have been repeatedly cited by the FMCSA for violating trucking rules and regulations or for posing serious risks to others will simply open up shop under a new name.

Why Are They Dangerous?

Chameleon carriers are extremely dangerous. These trucking companies may be under a new banner, but they rarely transition to new, safer behavior. Most chameleon carriers continue to violate safety regulations and act negligently. They still pose serious risks to other motorists, passengers, and pedestrians.

Because they are operating as a new company, and with a new Department of Transportation number, they have a fresh safety record without the stain of any of their previous bad actions.

What Is Being Done to Address Chameleon Carriers?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is well aware of chameleon carriers and the risks they pose. When the FMCSA processes new applications for trucking companies, they have methods to try to determine whether a trucking company is a chameleon carrier. The FMCSA examines new trucking companies for signs of prior problematic safety records, called “chameleon attributes,” that they might have acquired while operating under an old name and DOT number.

Still, the FMCSA hasn’t designed a fool-proof process of catching chameleon carriers. That’s partly because even though vetting new trucking companies for “chameleon attributes” can help to identify some chameleon carriers, it’s still difficult to filter all “new” trucking companies with poor safety records. The FMCSA claims to be working to streamline a better process of identifying chameleon carriers.

Call Breit Law PC If You’ve Been Injured in a Truck Accident

Have you been seriously injured in a truck accident? Was the accident the truck driver’s fault? You can seek compensation for your injuries.

The Hampton Roads trucking accident attorneys at Breit Law PC have nearly four decades of experience helping victims who have been injured due to others’ wrongdoing pursue and obtain compensation for their injuries. We don’t just rush to settle your case. With our decades-long experience in litigation, we’re always prepared to take your case to trial if it’s your best chance of obtaining maximum compensation.

To schedule a free consultation, call Breit Law PC at (757) 456-0333 or contact us online.

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