After causing multiple collisions or racking up numerous violations, a trucking company attracts the attention of regulatory agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Eventually the company might be forced to stop doing business if the agency determines the company is too unsafe to remain in business.
However some of these companies have taken the dishonest approach of changing their names and applying for new Department of Transportation (DOT) numbers. These trucking companies are referred to as chameleon carriers because their name change allows them to blend in with the other carriers.
What’s in a Name?
But a new name does not mean a new way it conducts its business. In the typical scenario, the trucking company has a clean slate that helps it stay under the radar, allowing it to continue its unsafe practices. Up to its old tricks, the chameleon carrier may not get caught until it is slapped with numerous new violations or its driver injures or even kills other motorists.
Out-Foxing the Feds
The strategy is simple. Once regulatory agencies have taken notice, the company seemingly disappears. The no-longer-existing company, thus, avoids fines and liability. The new company avoids scrutiny.
How have government agencies permitted this to happen? The DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) should go after companies that have multiple violations, not allow them to scurry off into the night with no consequences. In doing so, these agencies are more likely to catch chameleon carriers before they have the chance to injure others. Perhaps use the fine money collected from these noncompliant trucking companies to fund further enforcement.