Research Project

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Identifying Carriers That Are Likely Spreading Violations Across More Than One Company


To identify groups of carriers that are operating under common management and spreading violations across multiple carriers to avoid being detected as unsafe. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) requires the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to require carriers that are operating under common management to declare they are doing so. Carriers will be able to report this using the new MCSA-1 form that is being rolled out by FMCSA as part of the Unified Registration System (URS-1). Carriers who fail to report that they are operating under common management will be identified as chameleons.


Spreading of violations among managed groups was particularly observed among motorcoach operators. There is a growing trend for such commonly managed groups of carriers to share drivers and vehicles. This effectively spreads the violations of those drivers and vehicles among more than one motorcoach carrier, thus improving their Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores.


The goal of this project was to apply an analysis technique that clusters all of the violations of drivers and vehicles for all of the carriers for which they work. This technique identifies the sharing of drivers and vehicles and greatly assists in identifying such sharing among commonly managed carriers. Use of these analysis techniques in the future will help overcome the data shortage about single carriers that is common in SMS. This is because there are a limited number of inspections/crashes attributed explicitly to a chameleon carrier by its U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. This research will assist in implementing analysis capabilities for identifying such undeclared chameleon carriers operating as part of a managed group.


A list of commonly managed high-risk carriers was identified by applying the analysis techniques. That list correlated very highly with a list of carriers that were identified by labor-intensive analysis previously completed by the I-95 strike force. The list of carriers identified by FMCSA’s analysis also correlates highly with less-predictable ad hoc information that a carrier might be high-risk.


September 2013  Draft final report
January 2015     Final report




Completed. Report under review for possible inclusion in the risk assessment software being developed for the Office of Registration and Safety Information (MC-RS).


Integrated Technology Solutions, Inc.

Updated: Thursday, January 8, 2015
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