Beware of “Chameleon Carriers”

BYX Fleet

Recently, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an audit showing that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) isn’t doing enough to keep “chameleon carriers” off the roads. Chameleon companies are those that simply change their names, but their vehicles and drivers stay the same. While this isn’t always a problem, a big issue develops when companies get into trouble, shut down, change their name, submit a new carrier application and are allowed to get back on the road almost immediately.

The GAO’s audit mentioned that companies having “chameleon attributes” are three times more likely than other new carriers to be involved in a severe crash. A big problem is that the FMCSA only does background checks on buses and movers, which account for a tiny 2% of new carrier applications. The other 98% are submitted by freight carriers, which are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents. This means there’s a high potential for dangerous freight operators to gain approval from the FMCSA and be out on the road in no time.

One of the problems noted in the audit is that the FMCSA just doesn’t have the resources to catch chameleon companies. Over 66,000 applications for new carrier numbers are submitted every year and the agency doesn’t have the resources to run a background check on every single applicant. One of the things the FMCSA is hopeful about is that they’ve been granted greater authority in the recent transportation bill to crack down on chameleon companies. Through this authority, a single national standard will be adopted that will identify ways in which a company is characterized as a chameleon. The agency can then apply the standard to applicants, making it tougher for chameleon companies to close down and reincarnate themselves.

Adequate resources should always be devoted to protecting our roads and highways. Dangerous companies shouldn’t be allowed to operate. It’s also important for customers to do their research when looking for TL or LTL freight services. Always know who you’re dealing with. Best Yet Express has been in business for over 30 years. Throughout those years, we have developed a wealth of knowledge in TL and LTL freight services, warehousing and cross docking. Our customers know that they are receiving high-quality services from a reputable company.

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