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'Chameleon carriers' skirt trucking safety regulations


Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Aug 23, 2014 in Truck Accidents

Truck drivers and trucking companies throughout the nation must follow the stringent regulations. Unfortunately not everyone does this. One way in which some regulations are being skirted by trucking companies is by operating as a “chameleon carrier".

A trucking company might decide to go this route after being fined for a safety violation. In an effort to maintain a good safety rating with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and not pay the fine, the business will close down and start up again as a different company. In 2010 the Government Accountability Office indicated that 1,136 new applicants were suspected to be chameleon carriers.

One lawyer who represented the family of a man struck by a truck driven by a man who was high, believes that chameleon carriers are involved in serious accidents a disproportionate amount of the time. The GAO determined that 18 percent of what were suspected to be chameleon carriers played a role in a severe accident. The family of the man, who was killed when a truck struck him, knows this all too well.

The man, a father of four, was a professional truck driver who was on the side of the road doing an inspection of his vehicle. As he completed the inspection, a truck driven by a man who was admittedly under the influence of methamphetamines, struck him. That man, who had a drug history, was working for a chameleon carrier.

The family of the man who died filed a lawsuit against that chameleon carrier as well as the truck driver. That case settled, the details of which are unclear.

Source: CNBC, “Wiping clean the safety records of trucking companies", Jennifer Schlesinger and Eamon Javers, July 30, 2014