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Truck Accidents - The Effect of Chameleon Carriers

Robert Karns

Chameleon carriers have a devastating effect on truck accidents. Because of their poor safety records, chameleon carriers a more likely to cause a truck accident than a trucking company with a good safety record.

A chameleon carrier is a commercial trucking company operating large tractor trailers that shuts down its business and opens as a new legal entity in order to avoid the expense including fines and the regulation involved when operating with a poor safety record.

Trucking companies with a poor safety record that are not able to obtain a satisfactory rating through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can shut down its business and reopen a new business. These "reincarnated" carriers are known as chameleon carriers. They attempt to avoid regulatory compliance with FMCSA by cleansing their poor safety records.

Studies by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) show that over 1,000 new applicants a year are suspected of being chameleon carriers and that a large percentage of chameleon carriers were involved in severe truck accidents.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is in the process of developing a data - driven system for vetting motor carriers. It is hope that the FMCSA will include information about individual drivers to improve the agencies screening protocols used to identify chameleon carriers.

Trucking companies with poor safety records that avoid regulation by shutting down their business and reopening under a new name and thereby becoming a chameleon carrier are much more likely to continue poor safety habits and cause severe truck accidents when their large tractor trailers smash into smaller automobiles. Individual truck drivers that work for these companies with drug and alcohol problems and sleep disorders breach many safety regulations, hide their problems through chameleon carriers and cause many accidents.

It is extremely important to force trucking companies to be regulated, to have the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act stop trucking companies from becoming chameleon carriers and avoiding regulation in order to protect the public.

Regulating safety in large tractor trailers and stopping chameleon carriers from being in existence is extremely important as according to the American Trucking Association (ATA) there are about 2.3 million large trucks on the roadways in the U.S.

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