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What Are Chameleon Carriers?

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Reincarnated Carriers AKA “Chameleon Carriers”

Regulations are in place to keep truckers and other motorists safe on the road. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous freight carriers have found ways to work around these regulations to operate unsafely in order to save time and money.

What is a Reincarnated Carrier?

A reincarnated carrier is a trucking company that has been shut down due to safety concerns that have put drivers and the general public in danger. These carriers then reopen under a different name and start operating within a short period of time. Most cases of reincarnated carriers involve a company reopening with the same unsafe drivers and equipment. There is generally no regard for changing operations to conform to safety regulations.

Another name that is used for reincarnated carriers is chameleon carriers.

How Chameleon Carriers Get Away with Coming Back

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) makes every effort to keep unsafe carriers off of the road, but not all carriers that are shut down by FMCSA comply with the order to cease operations. It is not possible for the FMCSA to follow all commercial drivers at all times, so it is possible for carriers that have been ordered to shut down to continue operating for some time before being caught.

If a chameleon carrier is caught, hefty fines can be assessed for every day that the carrier operates after the order to cease operations has been made. Many unsafe carriers will continue operating until they are caught using unsafe practices for a second time.

Implications for the Trucking Industry

Chameleon carriers pose a safety threat to other truckers and drivers on the road. One way that the trucking community can stay safe is if companies are proactive about ensuring that a carrier is authorized to operate. Companies can do research to ensure that carriers are registered properly prior to selecting a carrier. Not only does this keep the company from hiring a carrier that could cause problems with shipments, but it also keeps the general public safer.

Truckers who do work for carriers that are not following FMCSA regulations may be hesitant to report violations because it means a reduction in available work, but reporting chameleon carriers can be beneficial to individual truckers. Chameleon companies often require truckers to drive long periods of time without rest stops in order to save time and money. It is the responsibility of drivers who are aware of violations to promptly report these issues.