More than 1,000 trucking companies have avoided a federal regulator’s order to shut down and pay fines for safety violations by simply changing their names, the Associated Press reported July 30. The revelation comes from a study by the Government Accountability Office of “motor carriers” — trucking and bus companies — regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency orders hundreds to shut down every year for safety violations including failure to drug- and alcohol-test drivers, lack of licenses and using unsafe equipment. But according to the report, hundreds of companies stayed in business by simply changing their names and reapplying for a federal license using the same owners’ names, addresses, contact information, employees and equipment.
The report found at least 20 out of 220 bus companies and 1,073 out of an unknown number of trucking companies believed to be “reincarnated” under new names after discipline in 2007 and 2008. In fact, more than 500 were still operating as of late July. The GAO suggested that the number of reincarnations may be even higher because its study only looked at exact matches of addresses and other information, not at close matches or similar information. The situation poses a serious safety threat, a GAO official said, because these carriers were ordered out of business for potentially deadly safety violations. As an example, the article cited a 2008 bus crash in which 17 people died after a tire blew, forcing the bus off the road. The blown tire was a retreaded tire mounted on a steering axle, in violation of federal law. The bus company in that case was reincarnated under a new name after being taken off the road two months earlier by federal regulators.
As a Missouri tractor-trailer accident attorney, I am less shocked at this report than other readers may have been. Because I work every day with accident victims, I’m sorry to say that I know how far some trucking companies are willing to compromise safety in order to save a few dollars. Truck drivers are required to keep logs of when they drive and rest so they don’t drive when over-tired; trucking companies almost routinely encourage them to lie on those logs if necessary to make deliveries on time and avoid losing money. I have also seen cases of trucking companies sending their drivers out without inspections of brakes and other essential equipment; and knowingly hiring drivers without a valid commercial license. These safety violations break the law and raise the risk of a deadly big rig accident, endangering the innocent drivers and passengers who happen to be sharing the road with the trucks.
Carey, Danis & Lowe represents people who were seriously injured or lost family members because of law-breaking or bad decisions by truck drivers and their trucking companies. Our St. Louis semi truck accident lawyers help victims deal with the devastating results of their accidents — wrongful deaths, permanent brain damage, paralysis, severe burns and other catastrophic, permanent injuries — by recovering the money they need to pay high medical bills and cover other steep costs of the accident. We also recover compensation for victims’ injuries, pain and suffering and any disability or wrongful death. Our Missouri 18-wheeler accident attorneys always seek to get clients the best possible financial recovery, so they can pay for needed medical care and focus on healing as much as possible.
If you or a loved one was involved in a serious tanker truck accident in Missouri or southern Illinois, you should talk to the Lowe Law Firm right away. To set up a free consultation and learn more, please contact us through the Internet or call 1-877-678-3400 today.