A reincarnated trucking company is a trucking company that was closed for a reason and then reopened under a different DOT number. A dirty secret in the trucking and bus industry is that when a company gets shut down due to improperly running a fleet or for safety reasons, reopening it is not all that difficult. Even for those companies that are known to have multiple violations, it appears that “reincarnated” trucking companies pop up all the time without anyone really noticing or putting a stop to the practice.
Reincarnated companies are ones that already have a Department of Transportation number, but they apply to the Federal Motor Safety Administration for a new number presenting themselves as being a “new” company when in fact they are not. Although sometimes there are legitimate reasons to reincarnate a business, like the death of the owner or a separation of partnership, there are also unscrupulous reasons to do so. Some trucking and busing businesses do it to avoid fines and penalties that have been levied against them, and by simply paying a fee for a new number, they are no longer held accountable for those fines.
Why they are a safety issue
These newly-reincarnated businesses enter back into the trucking industry with ease. But it’s likely that what they don’t do is make the necessary adjustments or repairs that led to their fines and penalties in the first place. Many have a plethora of safety violations that are simply erased, and they go right back to operating as normal. Typically, they are allowed to exist with their violations for up to 18 months before anyone inspects them again – or even notices that there are safety concerns to begin with.
When a company is issued with a new number by the Federal Motor Safety Administration, they can operate without having to fix any of the violations that were found because the number doesn’t transfer the violations or the fines and penalties that they were subject to. The new number, for all intents and purposes, wipes their slate clean and they are allowed to get right back out on the road.
Estimates are that as many as eleven million inspections took place roadside, and of those, up to 20% of the inspections led to a bus or truck company to be rendered “out of service” due to egregious safety concerns.
An “out of service” order is issued when a bus or truck has so many safety issues that it is unsafe for it to continue on the road. But that does not mean that the company can no longer operate – it just means that they have to pay a fine and fix the violation to return to operation. Due to the overworked nature of many weigh stations, there are a ton of overweight trucks with safety violations that are never spotted and continue to operate all across the country.
Reincarnated buses and trucks put everyone in danger. Since the fallout of a serious 18-wheeler accident is usually catastrophic, just one truck or bus that is allowed to operate without the proper safety in place puts the public at large in peril, not just the people riding the bus.
To crack down on the practice, the two agencies are working harder to collaborate with one another to make sure that a business cannot apply for a new number if they have outstanding fines or penalties in place, or if they have not fixed whatever safety concerns were brought to the agencies’ attention.
If you are in a trucking or bus accident in Houston and injured, it might be the case that a reincarnated company is to blame. The only way to know for sure is to hire a houston 18 wheeler accident attorney to sort through the details and to investigate the company and see if it has any violations in its past, and if it has skirted them and reincarnated itself through a new agency to avoid necessary repairs or violation fixes. To ensure that you get all that you are entitled to, it is important to know why and how your truck accident happened and who is to blame on all sides.