Chameleon Operations – A Look at How Trucking Companies Evade Consequences

colorful-chameleon-thumbAt the end of August, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shut down an unsafe Tennessee-based trucking company. But the same operation was shutdown by the FMCSA just two months earlier.

Here’s what happened. The company, which was originally named Three Angels Farms, was a horse transporter that the FMCSA said had multiple federal violations in regards to hours of service, driver qualifications, drug and alcohol testing, and vehicle maintenance. More specifically, Three Angels Farms allowed drivers to operate its tractor trailers without CDL license and did not perform drug and alcohol testing. In the six months before the FMCSA shut the operation down, poorly maintained vehicles and tired drivers caused two crashes, killing four horses. Because of these violations, on June 29 the FMCSA ordered the operation to cease operations immediately.

“Safety is always our top priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “If a truck company ignores federal safety rules and places the traveling public at risk, we will remove them from the road.”

This should have been the end of the story, but in August the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that the operation had not ceased operations. Instead, the company was operating under a new name, Terri’s Farm. Terri’s Farm was using the same vehicles, the same operational and safety management as Three Angels Farm. Other than the name, nothing had changed. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon circumstance.

A Google search for “Chameleon Trucking Operations” brings up a variety of articles that were shut down, unjustly reincarnated, and then shut down again. A report published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office states that at least nine percent of the 220 operations placed out of service by the FMCSA in 2007 and 2008 were reincarnated as a chameleon company. The report notes that the number is most likely larger than this.

This information was first published in TruckAccident Magazine. Call Lori Tepper at APITLAmerica today at 888-772-4852, to learn more about TruckAccident Magazine. Also, learn more about putting the brakes on unsafe trucking companies online at http://www.apitlamerica.com – APITLA is serving America’s truck accident victims.

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