Opponents of Cross Border Trucking with Mexico Continue to Fail in Efforts to Stop Program

Mexican Truck Fleet Nuevo Lared
Trucks such as these Mexican long haul rigs are as modern and safe as anything on US highways, driven by men highly skilled in their operation

In May of 2013, having failed in all previous attempts to stymie, delay or stop each applicant to the Cross Border Pilot Program with Mexico from being given provisional authority to enter the program, a representative from each of the opposing groups sent a letter of protest to FMCSA Commissioner Ann Ferro.

The letter was signed by representatives of OOIDA, Teamsters, Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, CRASH and the Truck Safety Coalition.

In the letter, they raised issues that have become boilerplate issues for some of them that they use to oppose each and every applicant to the program during the mandated comment period on the applicants. Each time the issues have been raised, they have been summarily dismissed by the FMCSA with a reasonable and concise explanation as to why they don’t apply.

This letter falls outside the rules of the game. A sign of a bunch of sore losers who have lost practically every attempt to shut down the Cross Border Program with Mexico. It’s a pathetic attempt by a group whose relevancy on this issue is practically nil.

All issues raised by these groups have again, been appropriately addressed, but not to the satisfaction of the opponents. In other words, they’ve been an utter failure at removing extremely safe, compliant trucks from Mexico from our roadways.

It took the FMCSA 4 months to respond to the letter, showing us just how much juice these groups have with FMCSA concerning this issue, but respond they did.

In their response, FMCSA once again pointed out to these groups, as you would to a group of little children, the purposes and safeguards built into the system.

As you are aware, FMCSA established the Pilot Program with specific and strategic safety
requirements to ensure that the participating Mexico-domiciled motor carriers are under more
scrutiny and require a higher level of safety monitoring than that normally applied to U.S.

To date, the safety record of the participating carriers
demonstrates that the protocols built into the Pilot Program are a success. Therefore, FMCSA is
confident that the program is working as designed.

The letter goes on debunk a common misconception these groups push that Mexican carriers are given a “free pass” from having to comply with our rules and regulations. The group complains that Mexican carriers, for instance, should have their authority revoked if they receive a “conditional” rating on a compliance review, instead of being allowed a period for corrective action and reexamination as is accorded US and Canadian carriers. It has been proven time and again, that the Mexicans are held to a much higher level of safety and compliance than their US and Canadian counterparts, and they excel at it. There is solid proof to back this up!

Finally, they bring up the SMS scores of three recent entries into the program. Participants that had BASICS in the 99 percentile range.  As the letter states, this is a disaster, and we agree with that assessment. But not in the manner that these bogus safety groups are claiming.

The SMS scores in question, particularly in DRIVER FITNESS are a result of alleged violations of 391.11.(b)(2), the English Language Proficiency rule, compliance with which is left up to the opinion of the individual inspector with little guidance of what constitutes compliance.  Violation of 391.11.(b)(2) is listed as an Out of Service (OOS) violation, but it is rare to find an instance where drivers have been put OOS for non-compliance.  Even Todd Spencer of OOIDA considers the CSA Safety Management System as dismal failure in its present form of implementation, except of course when it can be used against the Mexicans.

Once again, we have an effort by a pathetic group of losers who have attempted once again to stop a successful program, that they themselves, forced to be instituted. And once again, they’ve failed.