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You Cannot Judge On Name Alone – The Problem Of Chameleon Carriers

Driving a tractor trailer for a living can be a rewarding career for those who enjoy that kind of work and the freedom that often accompanies it. Driving for a living can also come with a number of downsides, too, not the least of which is that it can be a dangerous profession. Spending long hours on the open highway can mean driving under less than ideal conditions, including bad weather and poor road conditions as well as personal conditions such as fatigue. At the very least, a truck driver should be able to depend on his or her employer to provide a properly operating and safe vehicle so that at least those types of somewhat controllable safety concerns are not an issue. The problem is, though, that not all trucking companies do follow these simple rules, and for those involved in this industry, these lax companies create industry-wide safety issues that can affect other drivers as well as their own. A sad account of a driver who lost his life while on the job in just this situation is found in this story about the trouble regarding the safety records of trucking companies. A truck driver who stopped alongside the road to perform an inspection of his own truck was struck and killed by another truck driver who had veered off the road. The story highlights the problem of ‘chameleon carriers’ – trucking companies that circumvent poor safety record issues by changing their name and registering with the U.S. Department of Transportation under a different name.

Getting Around a Poor Safety Record

Trucking and transport companies are subject to comprehensive safety checks and industry standards and, for the most part, they do maintain clean records. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues a satisfactory rating to companies that they are in compliance with regulations. Companies that are unable to obtain this satisfactory rating sometimes close up shop and reopen under a different name to avoid the problems that come with liability and poor safety records. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) notes, however, that these chameleon carriers are more likely to be involved in severe accidents; in a report issued during a study on the subject, the GAO found that there were three times the number of suspected chameleon carriers involved in severe accidents than carriers who were not suspected of this same behavior. Companies who engage in this kind of behavior not only endanger the lives of others drivers on the road, but they also put their own employees at risk by doing exactly the opposite of what is expected of an employer – to provide a safe working environment for its employees. Though there are penalties for chameleon carriers, including forced closure, these penalties are likely a little too minimal, and a little too late, for the employees of these companies who are injured on the job due to unsafe working conditions.

Bader Scott Injury Lawyers Is Here to Help

At the Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we recognize the overwhelming feeling victims of workplace injuries have when trying to determine how to recoup their losses. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a job-related injury in any type of employment, contact us. We have experience with all types of workers’ compensation issues and sit down with you to discuss your case and what you can expect. Contact us by calling directly, or visit us online to schedule a time to meet with us.

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Seth Bader
(678) 562-5595