Concept document released for Mexican truck access

The Commercial Carrier Journal released today what is says is the concept document that will permit the United States to fulfill it’s obligations under NAFTA to allow Mexican carriers equal access to US highways.

The Department of Transportation says this initial concept document, is a starting point in the renewed negotiations with Mexico, addresses concerns raised during the process that included meetings with lawmakers, safety advocates, industry representatives and other stakeholders to address a broad range of concerns and to listen to the fabrications and misinformation presented by some of the stakeholders who oppose Mexican trucks in this country for purely bogus reasons.

Not surprisingly, the concept document merely reiterates the requirements that were used for the very successful Cross Border Pilot Program. And even more surprisingly, this writer and this website can support, it principle, the requirements being suggested in the concept document. After all, the carriers who participated in the initial pilot program, met and passed these requirement with flying colors.

The document can be downloaded here:

Highlights of the PHASED U.S.-MEXICO CROSS-BORDER LONG HAUL TRUCKING PROPOSAL

PRE – OPERATIONS ELEMENTS
1. Application: Interested Mexican Carriers apply for long-haul operating
• Passenger and hazardous materials carriers will not be included in this program.
• Subject to negotiation with Mexico, the number of carrier and truck participants in first
phase of program will be managed to ensure adequate oversight.

2. Vetting
• Applicant carriers’ information is vetted by DHS and DOJ.
• Driver specific information from applicant carriers is vetted by DHS and DOJ.

3. Pre-Authority Safety Audit (PASA)
• Review carrier’s safety management programs (vehicle maintenance, drug and alcohol testing programs, driver qualification files, etc.).
• Review driving records for only those drivers who would participate in cross-border long haul operations.
• Review the combined driving record of drivers who would participate in the program (U.S.
driving history, Mexican Federal license history, and Mexican State license history).
• Inspection of each vehicle to be used in the phased in program.
• Check all participating vehicles for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) certification.
• Check all participating vehicles for EPA emissions standards.
• Conduct an English Language Proficiency and US Traffic Laws knowledge test of each driver
participating in the program, conducted in English.
• Review of all convictions, crashes and inspections in Mexico in determining carrier’s safety
record.
4. Document Mexican Commercial Driver’s License process to demonstrate comparability.

5. Insurance – If PASA is successfully completed, applicant must submit evidence of financial
responsibility (insurance) to FMCSA.

OPERATIONS ELEMENTS

1. Monitoring
• Inspections
• For an agreed upon period of time a carrier’s long-haul operations, vehicles and drivers would be inspected by FMCSA each time one of its vehicles crosses the northbound border.
• Electronic Monitoring – The program will use available technology to provide redundant
monitoring of program’s trucks, drivers and carriers.
• Initial, phased in access.January 6, 2011

2. Follow Up Review

(1st Review) – Each Mexican trucking company would undergo a follow-up
review to ensure continued safe operation. After the follow-up review, the company’s trucks
would be subject to border inspections at FMCSA’s normal border inspection rate and subject to inspections in the interior of the U.S. at the same rate as U.S. companies. Additionally, the
company must maintain a valid safety inspection sticker.

3. Compliance Review

(2nd Review) – After successful completion of a compliance review and earning a Satisfactory Safety Rating, the participating carrier will be eligible for full operating authority.

4. FMCSA Reviews

• Insurance Monitoring – FMCSA monitors the participating carriers’ insurance filings to
ensure there are no lapses in coverage.
• FMCSA conducts compliance reviews of drug and alcohol collection and testing facilities
used by participating carriers.

TRANSPARENCY ELEMENTS

1. Federal Register Notices
FMCSA publishes a Federal Register notice describing the proposed
program and docket appropriate analyses and seeks comment on the program.

2. Publically Accessible Web Site
FMCSA develops and maintains a public web site that provides information on participating carriers.

3. Federal Advisory Committee
DOT establishes a Federal Advisory Committee Act group with representation from a diverse group of stakeholders.
4. Periodic Reports to Congress
DOT is required by statute to submit annual reports to Congress.
5. Office of the Inspector General
DOT OIG is required by statute to submit reports to Congress.

Note: Drivers’ licenses will still be checked at a 50 percent rate in accordance with requirements in section 350 of the Department
of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002 (Pub. L. 107-87, Dec. 18, 2001

The only problem I see with this is the “advisory board”. This will give the so-called “stakeholders” (OOIDA, TEAMSTERS) the platform to continue their efforts to stonewall any plan to allow the United States to satisfy the United States’ international obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexico is fully equipped and capable of meeting these requirements and this concept document should be implemented immediately.

SOURCE: Commercial Carrier Journal
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