Chameleon trucking companies a hazard on New York roads

Loophole allows dangerous carriers to keep operating despite violations

A legal loophole is allowing hundreds of dangerous trucking companies to continue operating despite mounting citations against them. So-called chameleon carriers are trucking companies that have dissolved and then reapplied for a new permit under a different name in order to avoid scrutiny about their safety records. One U.S. Senator is trying to close the loophole, saying it has allowed too many dangerous carriers to operate, including one that was involved in a fatal truck accident in Ithaca this summer, according to the Elmira Star-Gazette.

Chameleon carriers

While the general public may not have heard of chameleon carriers, they are present throughout the U.S. and pose a significant safety hazard to other motorists. Chameleon carriers are simply trucking companies that try to avoid paying fines or getting shut down by dissolving themselves and then reapplying for a permit under a different name. They are still the same company as before, with the same trucks and drivers, but simply with a different name.

According to WRVO Public Media, there are over 500 of these companies in New York alone. Additionally, records indicate that in 2010, over 1,100 companies throughout the U.S. showed characteristics of being a chameleon carrier.

Fatal accident

One U.S. Senator from New York is trying to close the legal loophole that allows such dangerous carriers to continue operating. His proposal would require people and companies to be cross-checked when applying for a permit in order to uncover any history of safety violations.

The move comes in response to a fatal accident in Ithaca in June. In that case, one person was killed when a car-carrier semi-trailer lost control of its brakes. The truck was operated by a company that had previously piled up a list of safety violations before it dissolved itself and reformed under a new name in late 2013. The driver in that crash has since been charged with operating a vehicle that was too long and which did not have an adequate brake-limiting device.

Truck accidents

Because of the sheer size of tractor-trailers, an accident that involves such vehicles is almost always bound to lead to significant damage, especially for any smaller vehicles that are in the truck's path. As the above article shows, many truck accidents can be avoided if trucking companies and their drivers would simply follow safety rules already in place.

For those who have been injured in a truck accident, it is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. With qualified legal representation at one's side, victims of truck accidents will have the help they need in understanding the options at their disposal.