Chameleon Carrier Pleads Guilty, Here Are Some Tips to Avoid Risk

Chameleon carriers remain a growing concern in the trucking industry, as existing or pre-existing carriers are registering under new company names and DOT#s in order to hide poor safety records, out-of-services, and to avoid paying fines.

Just this month, VN Trucking and AV Trinity owner Volodymyr Kurylo pleaded guilty to reincarnating his company under a different name when it was shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

According to reports, Kurylo was ordered to close Pennsylvania-based VN Trucking back in January 2015 after failing a compliance review and falsifying residency documents for students trying to obtain their CDL.  One month later, AV Trinity was discovered by the FMCSA to be a reincarnation of VN Trucking and owned by Kurylo as well.  AV Trinity was ordered to cease operations in April 2015.

This month, Kurylo was sentenced to “10 months imprisonment, three years of supervised release, a $3,000 fine, and the forfeiture of nearly $35,000.” 1

According to the FMCSA, there are 13 main factors used in identifying chameleon carriers.  They are as follows:

-“Whether the new or affiliated entity was created for purpose of evading statutory or regulatory requirements, an FMCSA order, enforcement action, or negative compliance history” 2

-“The previous entity’s safety performance history, including safety violations and enforcement actions” 2

-“Consideration exchanged for assets purchased or transferred” 2

-“Dates of creation and dissolution or cessation of operations” 2

-“Commonality of ownership among the entities” 2

-“Commonality of officers and management personnel” 2

-“Identity of physical or mailing addresses, telephone, fax numbers, or email addresses” 2

-“Identity of motor vehicle equipment” 2

-“Continuity of liability insurance policies or commonality of coverage under such policies” 2

-“Commonality of drivers and other employees” 2

-“Continuation of carrier facilities and other physical assets” 2

-“Continuity or commonality of nature and scope of operations, including customers” 2

-“Advertising, corporate name, or other actions through which the company holds itself out to the public” 2

Road Scholar Transport promotes the operation of only safe and qualified carriers on the road.  That’s why we are giving you five ways in which you can help reduce the risk of putting your freight in the hands of a chameleon carrier:

Research a carrier’s CSA (Comprehensive Safety Analysis) scores. This can be done by going to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Measurement System website (https://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/SMS/) where you will gain valuable information regarding the number of out-of-services and accidents a carrier had as well as citations, helping you choose a safe carrier.

Receiving daily updated authority/insurance data from carriers.

Research the company’s background. How long have they been in business?  Conducting business with a company who has been operating in the industry for several years and is well-established can help you avoid choosing carriers that are constantly re-incarnating themselves under new names to avoid penalties/out-of-service orders.

Check the chameleon carrier database.  CarrierWatch grants you the ability to view a list of trucking companies whose operating authority has been revoked.

Ask around.  Why not go directly to the source of who has experience using a particular carrier?  Referrals are a powerful tool in receiving insider information about a carrier’s reputation.

For a carrier that has been in business since 1988 and has a solid reputation in the industry visit www.roadscholar.com.
 

1http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=32714#.WI-k_fIs4fQ

2http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FMCSA-2013-0079-0004.