Your Feb. 23 Pre-Trip: ‘Chameleon carriers’ threaten road safety

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. When some trucking companies are put out of service by the FMCSA, they come back with modified names and new numbers from the Department of Transportation. They’re called “chameleon carriers,” and according to a WRAL report, they’re creating serious safety problems on the road. WRAL says that studies show these truckers are three times more likely to be involved in serious crashes, and in a five-year stretch, they were responsible for accidents that killed 217 people and injured 3,500.

2. Swift Transportation announced that it received approval to repurchase as much as $150 million in stock, The Wall Street Journal reports. CEO Jerry Moyes told investors back in January that he would seek approval to buy back as much as $200 million in stock, and since his announcement, Swift’s shares rose sharply, according to WSJ. Last fall, Swift announced that it would halt the expansion of its truck fleet and instead spend money on buying back stock.

3. Bananas are being blamed for contributing to a fiery truck crash that damaged Old Grist Mill Tavern in Massachusetts, WPRI Eyewitness News 12 reports. Nearly four years ago, police said a truck carrying bananas lost control on a curve in front of the tavern, starting a chain reaction. The truck took out a telephone pole and gas line, which led to the tavern roof catching fire. The tavern owner’s attorney claims that the crash occurred partly because bananas are so light and were packed in containers from side to side and top to bottom without going over the weight limit.

4. Heavier semi-truck loads are only a House vote and a signature away from becoming a reality on Idaho’s interstate roads, Fox 9 reports. According to the report, a bill to let 129,000-lb. loads drive on the state’s highways is a big deal for shippers, who have to downsize loads from Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada – which all allow 129,000 lbs. But increasing weight from 105,000 to 129,000 lbs. has created a lot of controversy. Fox 9 has more.

5. Commercial truckers are upset that Connecticut’s Department of Motor Vehicles has given them 30 days to pay additional registration fees after a software miscalculation caused the DMV to undercharge companies for six years. According to the Journal Inquirer, the DMV has to collect $73,000 in additional fees. The Journal Inquirer has more.

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