The GAO has released a report showing that many trucking companies and bus companies that were ordered closed due to safety violations have kept the doors open — not by changing their ways, but by changing their name. The study showed that these companies have been ordered to either shut down or correct serious safety violations. Instead of doing so, they have simply shifted the assets of the business over to a new corporation, obtained a new corporate identity, and continued doing business as usual. That of course is bad news for the public, because “business as usual” for these companies did not include doing things the right way.What are the implications of this news story for victims of Illinois trucking accidents?There are few truly “new” companies, especially with the high cost of gas and tight credit markets making entry into the trucking industry a difficult proposition. When we are doing our investigation into a trucking company whose driver was involved in a crash, one thing that we do is check to see how long the company has been in business. When we see that it is a new company, we start looking into who the principals are of the company and whether they have been operating from the same location. When you see that there was a troubled motor carrier operating out of that same location with the same principals, it raises a question as to whether the trucking company is the same bad actors dressed up in a new corporate identity.Even though the new company is a new trucking company and technically has a clean record, where there are safety and operating violations that caused the wreck that both the old company and the new company was guilty of and the management is the same, a court would likely admit evidence of the prior safety violations to show that management had specific, actual notice that their method of operation was unsafe. This is powerful evidence for a jury to consider.