Federal regulators are planning a crack down on “reincarnated” motor carriers after shutting down two closely affiliated trucking operators in one month.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants Congress to it help shutter unsafe trucking outfits that flout out-of-service orders by changing names. The FMCSA also plans to expand a vetting system for new bus and moving companies to include new applicants for trucking authority next year and to streamline its current registration system to make it easier to track companies.
The agency’s fight against “reincarnated” carriers gained new life last month when the FMCSA shut down Hanover, Md.-based Gunthers Transport on Nov. 8.
Within three weeks, the FMCSA shut down Clock Transport, which had the same address as Gunther and was owned by a member of the Gunther family. The Baltimore Sun reported that Clock was set up shortly before the federal agency ordered Gunthers Transport out of service for violating truck safety rules.
Reincarnated carriers are a challenge for federal and state regulators and police because of the volume of new carrier applicants and disparate databases. The FMCSA has long struggled with “reincarnated” carriers and “chameleon” companies that change names as part of scams targeting shippers and carriers.
The FMCSA said Congress should establish a national standard for “successor liability” to help prevent unsafe carriers from reopening under new names. In October, the FMCSA proposed combining three separate systems carriers use to get a DOT number or operating authority into one comprehensive system.
An agency spokesperson also said FMCSA will expand a screening program for moving and bus companies to all companies seeking operating authority.