For the Record
By James Jaillet
A report recently released by the Government Accountability Office recommends that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration expand new applicant reviews to better identify “chameleon” carriers — carriers that avoid identification by registering under a different identity.
The report says FMCSA lacks sufficient resources to determine the total number of the falsely identified carriers within the industry. Doing so would require it to investigate tens of thousands of new applicants that register annually and then complete a legal process for those in breach.
Instead, it uses a screening program to identify chameleon carriers among new applicants for bus companies and moving companies only. These groups were selected because they fell under consumer protection and because they present relatively high safety risks, but they represented only 2 percent of new applicants in 2010.
"Until a formal regulation is established with clear guidelines and borders ...