Senator Calls for Closing Trucking Company Loophole that Creates Chameleon Carrier Companies
A US Senator is campaigning against “chameleon carrier” trucking companies, which use a federal loophole to avoid paying fines by dissolving and reapplying for a new trucking license.
New York Senator Charles Schumer recently sent a concerned letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety administration expressing his concern over the loophole, because it allowed trucking companies to avoid liability.
“It is critical that a better system be developed when it comes to screening potential ‘chameleon carriers’ and unsafe drivers who shouldn’t be on the roads,” Schumer said. “While most companies that receive violations and citations quickly take steps to improve their safety operations, some carriers are able to evade oversight by simply closing down and re-emerging with a new name.”
“Rather than pay the fine or face repercussions, some (trucking companies) dissolve and reapply for permitting under a different name,” Schumer continued. “They’re called chameleon carriers. Same owners, same employees, same vehicles, just a different name.”
Schumer says that there are at least 500 such companies in New York State alone, including one trucking company that evaded liability for a fatal accident in Ithaca earlier this year. In his letter, Schumer informed the FMCSA that a simple solution would be to just look more closely at the applications.
“They should look beyond the name and see who’s behind it,” Schumer said. “If it’s the same drivers, if it’s the same trucks, if it’s the same owners in any way, they should look carefully and could prevent them from getting a new license.”
FMCSA spokesperson Marissa Padilla said the federal trucking company safety agency agrees with Senator Schumer, and has already taken some aggressive steps to better vet carriers that apply for new licenses. The agency has also upped fines for carriers that attempt to dodge liability by changing their names. In addition, the FMCSA has passed new regulation this year that would shut down trucking companies that repeatedly violated this rule.
“We appreciate Sen. Schumer’s support of our aggressive efforts to combat chameleon carriers and Acting Administrator Darling will respond to him directly on the new rules and policies we are taking to keep these unsafe companies off the road,” the FMCSA responded.
Trucking Companies and Trucking Accidents Can Cause Serious Injury and Wrongful Death
Accidents involving heavy commercial vehicles such as semi tractor trailers, flatbed or tanker trucks, buses, or construction accidents can often result in a serious injury or death.
Many times truck drivers cannot see in certain blind spots around their large 18 wheeler. You will also find that many truck drivers do not follow the speed limits and rules of the road. They are pressured by deadlines and DOT regulations are often racing to get to their destination.
Tractor trailer accidents can also occur as the result of driver fatigue. Drivers may get distracted or even fall asleep at the wheel, leaving them unable to avoid a trucking accident. Injuries sustained in these types of accidents can be disabling. Accidents involving heavy commercial vehicles can cause:
- traumatic brain injury,
- severe disability, and
- even death.
The Strom Law Firm, LLC can help you if you have been injured in a trucking accident. With careful analysis and investigation we will look at critical factors including:
- maintenance and equipment records for the truck;
- whether the truck load was appropriate, properly sized and within the weight limit;
- Weather, road, and grade conditions;
- whether the driver was operating within DOT regulations.
If you or a loved one has been such a victim, contact the Strom Law Firm, LLC trucking accident lawyers. Whether you were injured in a bus accident, tractor trailer accident, or any other commercial vehicle accident, we can help. 803.252.4800