What do Pinellas County residents need to know about Chameleon Carriers?

Highway accidents involving tractor-trailers have been steadily increasing since 2009. This is a result of the combination of an increased number of vehicles on the road and a recovering economy where there is money to be made for truck drivers. Many of these truck drivers, and the companies that they work for, are endangering motorists by constantly ignoring safety procedures set in their industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has the ability to penalize any carrier company who violates their regulatory compliance; however, companies who have multiple violations and fail to receive a good rating from the FMCSA have started practicing a new way to get around the FMCSA regulations.


Chameleon CarriersA chameleon carrier is a trucking company that has deliberately shut down its business to only start up a new one with a new name. The new company is owned by the same person and is virtually the same exact operation as the old company, just with a new title. Company owners do this when they cannot receive a satisfactory rating from the FMCSA due to hiring drivers with poor records, having multiple penalties for safety violations, and other reckless violations. This allows these companies to hide behind their new names and avoid paying fines and the poor ratings from the FMCSA and continue with their unsafe business practices.

This is unfortunately a growing trend. In 2010, the Government Accountability Office discovered at least 1,136 companies that they believe were acting as chameleon carriers. They also believe that these chameleon carriers are also involved in more severe accidents. They reported that they believe that 18 percent of suspected chameleon carrier vehicles have been involved in severe accidents, just 6 percent of non-chameleon carriers.

In a recent report on the trucking industry by CNBC, they featured a tragic story about a tractor-trailer driver who was killed while checking on his rig on the side of the road. He was run over by another big-rig driver who was admittedly asleep at the wheel at the time of the accident and also was found to have crystal meth in his system. It was also discovered he was driving for a chameleon carrier operation, who under previous company names had serious safety violations.


Chameleon carrier companies need to be held responsible for their unsafe business practices. The constant shortcuts and mistakes they take all in the name of earning more money are costing innocent people their lives. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of being involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, contact the Dolman Law Group.

At Dolman Law Group we aggressively fight to hold those negligent responsible for the damages they caused. Truck accidents often times result in serious injuries or even death for both the truck driver and the other party involved and compensation may be available for the victims of these accidents. Contact us today for a free consultation at 727-451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765