Once again, the latest report from the USDOT Office of Inspector General, verifies, substantiates and conclusively proves all that Mexico Trucker Online has reported about the safety of Mexican trucks and participants in the Cross Border Pilot Program
WASHINGTON — The Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation said in a report released today that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) had either met or “substantially” met the safety criteria set forth in a 2002 appropriations act related to Mexico-domiciled motor carriers potentially operating beyond narrow commercial zones along the border.
The report, required by the 2002 act, was released today.
The OIG cited two areas where it felt FMCSA had not totally met the criteria — having adequate capacity at the southern border to conduct meaningful inspections and having sufficient databases to allow safety monitoring of Mexican carriers and drivers.
With respect to the inspection capacity, the IG wrote: “The capacity to perform truck, bus and driver inspections are in place, but FMCSA needed to include bus inspections during peak hours, such as holiday periods, at Laredo, Texas.”
With respect to the database issue, the IG wrote: “Databases are in place, but FMCSA needs to improve the consistency of Mexican traffic conviction reporting to the Mexican Conviction Database (formerly the 52nd State System).”
States are responsible for reporting convictions of Mexican driver’s license holders to the Mexican Conviction Database (MCDB), the IG said, but despite having told FMCSA in an August 2007 audit that there was improvement needed, the report released today said “states continue to inconsistently report traffic convictions” of Mexican license holders.
“The FMCSA evaluates the safety performance of Mexican drivers in a manner identical to U.S. and Canadian drivers,” Rose A. McMurray, acting deputy FMCSA administrator, said. “Disqualifying violations reported on Mexican and Canadian drivers are the same as those that are required to be reported for U.S. drivers. Violations such as the absence of operating authority are not considered disqualifying offenses for individual driver’s licensing purposes, and are, therefore, not required to be posted on the driver’s license record or the MCDB. They are, however, included in the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). As a result, it is inaccurate for the OIG report to maintain that violations attributable to motor carriers, such as any relating to operating a vehicle without operating authority or required shipping documents, should be included in the MCDB.”
According to the report:
• According to FMCSA, the New Mexico state staff was not aware of the MCDB reporting requirements.
• Arizona reported only 66 convictions for most of 2008 (from January to September 2008) in comparison to the 229 convictions reported in 2007. FMCSA asserted that Arizona reported all convictions and attributed Arizona’s low 2008 reporting to court non-compliance, reduction in CDL-related state law enforcement activities due to budget cuts, and reductions in commercial driving due to the economic downturn.
“Any conviction information that is delayed or not reported, including information on convictions incurred while driving a non-commercial vehicle, could result in Mexican federal CDL holders continuing to drive in the U.S. after incurring a disqualifying traffic offense,” the IG said. “We should note that we did not identify specific examples where inconsistent reporting of convictions allowed a Mexican federal CDL holder to drive in the U.S. after incurring a disqualifying traffic offense. However, by eliminating the existing inconsistencies in state reporting, FMCSA would have greater assurance that Mexican commercial drivers are qualified to drive in the U.S.”
The IG said FMCSA had met the criteria for the other six safety issues: the hiring and training of border inspectors; training inspectors conducting on-site reviews as safety specialists; not transferring inspectors to fill positions; implementing an Hours of Service policy; having a sufficiently accurate, accessible and integrated information infrastructure and adequate telecommunications links; and having measures to effectively enforce and monitor Mexican carrier licensing.
In her written response to the report, McMurray said the agency would continue to ensure the border inspections were adequately staffed:
“The FMCSA has a history of staffing the border at the levels necessary to achieve its enforcement goals, and it is therefore not clear why the draft report expresses concern regarding the agency’s ability to inspect 50 percent of the … licenses of the Mexican truck and bus drivers crossing the border if the border were to open to a large number of Mexican long-haul trucks and buses,” she said. “For example, during the recently discontinued (Cross Border) Demonstration Project, FMCSA staff inspected nearly 100 percent of the drivers’ licenses of the Demonstration Project drivers. The FMCSA will continue to staff the border in the manner necessary to achieve enforcement goals.”
The inspector made five recommendations in the report released today; McMurray said the FMCSA concurred with all recommendations and would take action on them.
In addition to validating our work and research here, this report, as well as earlier reports issued by the OIG, debunk all that OOIDA and the Teamsters have put forth in opposition.
On their Landlinenow broadcast this afternoon, the reporter made the statement that “Mexican drivers can have two licenses!” Not true, but that is about all they could say in defense.
With the legal tariff’s Mexico invoked when the Obama Administration canceled the Cross Border Program, southbound shipments are down 28%. This is what is costing Americans jobs and American truckers revenue.
Time to do what’s right and open the damned border!
35 years in the trucking business and living in Mexico for the past 15 years, make me uniquely qualified to offer my insight and opinion into the Mexican trucking industry and other border issues. A contributor to SiriuxXM Road Dog Channel 106 and to the award winning Lockridge Report, Mexico Trucker Online continues to publish the unvarnished truth about the subjects we cover.