Each year, safety violations committed by trucking companies cause thousands of truck accidents.
Although there is an official rating system in place to gauge carrier safety in an attempt to remove unsafe carriers from the highways, truck accident attorneys find that reincarnated truck companies make doing so an uphill battle.
These companies, reincarnations of previous companies that were closed down by the FMCSA, create a significant safety risk on the highways today.
What Is A Reincarnated Truck Company?
A reincarnated truck company, also known by trucking accident lawyers as a chameleon carrier, is a previously shut down company that continues doing business under a new name.
Most of the time, this refers to smaller or privately-owned companies that have been cited numerous times for safety violations to the point that the FMCSA has ordered the company to cease operations until all violations are resolved.
Since in most cases correcting all the safety issues would be very costly, truck accident attorneys find that many companies choose instead to simply rename the company and get back on the highways as quickly as possible; it becomes a continuous cycle of reincarnating to avoid a permanent shutdown.
Unfortunately, these companies are responsible for three times the number or as many as 18% of all trucking accidents occurring on the roads as opposed to those companies operating legally and adhering to all safety standards that are responsible for only 6%.1
Reincarnated Carriers Create Hazards
When trucking companies manage to quickly rename themselves and apply for a new DOT number that permits them to do business, this is essentially the same company that was shut down before with all their safety violations that got them shut down in the first place.
These are unsafe drivers and trucks at the highest risk of causing truck accidents, companies that are in violation of HoS rules and more that are slipping under the radar to continue their operations.
Unfortunately, in these cases the inspection system that got those trucks off the highway the first time must now repeat the effort to get them off the highway once again.
Until recently, it was extremely difficult for trucking accident lawyers or even the FMCSA to trace whether a carrier was a reincarnated company.
Unable to quickly determine whether a company has been reincarnated under a different name as well as the rise in safety inspections and tighter safety regulations over the past few years, reincarnated carrier numbers have risen from about 800 known carriers in 2005 to more than 1,100 in 2010 with that number rising every year.1
What Is Being Done About It Today?
As reincarnated companies have become more and more of a concern to the FMCSA as well as the truck accident attorneys who see the deadly aftermath of these safety violations, the administration has begun increasing registration regulations to try and weed out these companies.
Although there has been a program in the works since 2008, the FMCSA has more recently been granted additional authority to track down companies attempting to reincarnate and close them down for good.
The administration is also now incorporating new software with a more sophisticated algorithm to detect carriers attempting to reincarnate based on different data and statistics.
Reincarnated Truck Companies - A Danger to All
Trucking accident lawyers deal with the grim results of trucks driven with safety violations every year.
With the numbers of trucks and truck accidents rising each year, it’s become more important than ever for the FMCSA to implement new ways to track and identify chameleon carriers before they make it back to the highways.
Removing these carriers from the roads would significantly increase highway safety by reducing the hazard that big trucks pose to everyone else.
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys at Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1Government Accountability Office Report to Congressional Committees, Motor Carrier Safety: New Applicant Reviews Should Expand to Identify Freight Carriers Evading Detection, March 2012