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Truck Safety: The Problem of Reincarnated Carriers

There are some bad actors out there in the trucking industry. They do things like fail to maintain their trucks or employ drivers who do not meet the standards for commercial vehicle licenses.

The result, far too often, is truck accidents that injure or kill innocent people.

One reason it can be hard to hold these bad companies accountable, however, is that they keep shifting their corporate forms. Safety regulators may go after a company known to be bad, seeking to shut it down - only to have the company spring up again under a new name as a supposedly different entity.

In regulatory circles, this is known as the problem of "reincarnated" carriers.

Fortunately, regulators from the Federal Motor Carrier Safe have been taking steps to crack down on such carriers. Earlier this month, FMCSA issued an out-of-service order and a record consolidation order against three Wisconsin trucking companies that were essentially the same company.

Investigators found that the additional companies had been created in an attempt to get around safety reviews.

FMCSA also issued an imminent hazard order, based on the failure of the companies' owners to comply with basic safety practices. The violations included:

•· Failure to monitor drivers' compliance with hours-of-service limitations

•· Failure to monitor drivers' qualifications, including commercial licenses

•· Failure to enforce testing requirements for controlled substances and alcohol

Enforcement actions like this by federal and state safety regulators are very much needed. It isn't only that they take a given bad actor-company off of the road. That is important, but aggressive enforcement actions also send a message to other bad actors and would-be bad actors.

The message is simple: The chances of getting caught, even as a reincarnated carrier, are better than many bad actors think.

Source: "FMCSA enforces new reincarnated carrier reg," LandLine, Clarissa Kell-Holland, 6-11-12

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