The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency which is in charge of regulating the trucking industry. The primary mission of the FMCSA is to “reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.”
When a trucking company develops a consistent pattern of unsafe operating practices and begins to collect federal and/or state violations, that carrier will more than likely catch the attention of the FMCSA. In some cases, the agency will even shut the business down.
This had led to what is commonly referred to as chameleon carriers. These are companies who have either been shut down by the government or shut down on their own before the government has a chance to, but then reopen for business under a different name. In the majority of cases, these carriers continue to operate with the same disregard for safety, using defective trucks, drivers with multiple violations, and other unsafe practices.
Many studies have shown that these dangerous carriers are responsible for three times more serious crashes than other trucking companies. One study found that in a five-year time period, 217 people were killed in truck accidents caused by chameleon carriers. Another 3,500 victims were injured.
A recent news investigation revealed that one such carrier located right here in North Carolina is on its third corporate name. The company was first shut down in 2009, but just by adding “Incorporated” to its company name, the owners were quickly able to obtain a new Department of Transportation (DOT) number and reopened for business.
In 2012, two of the company’s drivers were killed when a tire blew and the truck they were traveling in went off the road. In 2014, a woman was left seriously injured when a truck owned by the company tried to run her vehicle off the interstate twice. The woman died several months later. At the time of that incident, the company had one of the worst safety records in North Carolina.
Recently, the company begin operating under a third entity name, however, the FMSCA has stepped in, due to the news investigation.
The question for drivers on the road, however, is just how many of the tractor trailers traveling on the same roads are being operated by a shady chameleon company?
If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact a skilled North Carolina truck accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the trucking company for your pain and loss.