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Schumer wants to close loophole allowing dangerous trucking companies to operate

David Guo

A federal loophole is letting some dangerous trucking companies continue to operate in New York state. But U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is looking to close it by calling for stricter tracking measures that would keep dangerous trucking companies off the road.

“Rather than pay the fine or face repercussions, some (trucking companies) dissolve and reapply for permitting under a different name," Schumer said. "They’re called chameleon carriers. Same owners, same employees, same vehicles, just a different name.”

Schumer says there are more than 500 such companies in New York state, including one involved in a fatal accident in Ithaca earlier this year.

"The trucking company that owned the tractor trailer that crashed in Ithaca had amassed 29 violations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the federal agency in charge of truck safety," Schumer explained. "Among them, citations for unqualified drivers and for falsifying their log book. That’s pretty serious stuff.”

Schumer says an easy answer is for the federal agency to take a closer look at license applications.

“They should look beyond the name and see who’s behind it," Schumer said. "If it’s the same drivers, if it’s the same trucks, if it’s the same owners in any way, they should look carefully and could prevent them from getting a new license.”  

According to Schumer, there are about 10,000 trucking accidents in New York state every year. He says tightening the federal regulations would ensure that these unsafe carriers don’t get back on the roads.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.