Participant in Cross Border Pilot Program with Mexico has operating authority revoked by FMCSA

Federal-Motor-Carrier-Safety-Administration-FMCSA-LogoThe Cross Border Pilot Program with Mexico has been in operation for 28 months and a participant has had his authority to operate revoked by FMCSA after scoring a “Conditional” rating during a compliance review.

SERGIO TRISTAN MALDONALDO DBA TRISTAN TRANSFER domiciled in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas was notified by the FMCSA on January 23, 2014 that their MX-OP-1 provisional operating authority had been revoked and to cease all interstate operations. This as a result of a compliance review conducted on January 20, 2013 that resulted in a “Conditional” safety rating.

Specifically, the company was found to be deficient in the following areas:

  • 49 CFR § 382.301(a) – Using a driver before the motor carrier has received a negative pre-employment controlled substance test result,
  • 49 CFR § 382.601 – Failing to provide educational materials explaining requirements of Part 382 and employer’s drug and alcohol program policies,
  • 49 CFR § 382.603 – Failing to ensure person designated to ensure drivers undergo reasonable suspicion testing receive 60 minutes of training for alcohol and 60 minutes of training for controlled substances.
  • 49 eFR § 391.21 (a) – Using a driver who has not completed and furnished an employment application,
  • 49 CFR § 391.23(e)(l) – Failing to investigate the driver’s alcohol and controlled substances history for the previous 3 years.
  • 49 eFR § 391.51 – Failing to maintain driver qualification file on each driver employed.
  • 49 CFR § 395.3(a)(2)- Requiring or permitting a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver to drive after the end of the 14th hour after coming on duty,
  • 49 CFR § 395.3(b)(2)- Requiring or permitting a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver to drive after having been on duty for more than 70 hours in 8 consecutive days,
  • 49 CFR § 395.8(a) – Failing to require driver to make a record of duty status,
  • 49 CFR § 395.8(j)(2) – Failing to obtain from driver used for the first time or intermittently, a signed statement giving the total time on duty during the preceding 7 days and time at which last relieved from duty,
  • 49 CFR § 396.3(b)(2) – Failing to have a means of indicating the nature and due date of the various inspection and maintenance operations to be performed,
  • 49 CFR § 396.11 (a) – Failing to require driver to prepare driver vehicle inspection report.

So the question is, “Was this Mexican motor carrier unsafe and deserving of having it’s provisional authority revoked?”

The answers in my opinion is no, and for the following reasons.

One of the failures I’m seeing with the pilot program is the manner in which records are being kept. It would appear that FMCSA is combining data from both MX OP-1 carriers participating in the pilot program and the much larger part of the fleets with MX OP-2 authority which limits carriers to the commercial zones, the so called “drayage” carriers.

The reasoning is obvious when you look at the reasons for the “Conditional” safety rating given above.  The violations shown would have prevented this carrier, which is a small family owned affair from being accepted into the program.

And when you look at the overview for SERGIO TRISTAN MALDONADO, you don’t see any of these violations listed on their Safety Measurement System matrix. The last six alleged violations cannot be found.

Under Hours of Sevice Compliance, only two relevant violations were found out of 49 inspections.

395.15(b) Onboard recording device information requirements not met 1 0 5
395.15(f) Onboard recording device failure and driver failure to reconstruct duty status

That’s a combined 40 points on their CSA score, a heavy hit for a one truck carrier with two drivers.

Pilot Program participants are required to have a functioning EOBR in their power units.

Looking at the application that was made by Maldonado to enter the program, it appears FMCSA considered the applicant compliant enough to issue authority.

But that’s how the games played, by FMCSA rules. The revocation of this carriers provisional authority debunks the notion put forth by opponents of Mexican trucks that they are given exceptional treatment and waivers from our rules and regulations. It proves that Mexican carriers are held to, at the minimum, the same standards as US and Canadian trucks are, but in reality, are held to a much higher standard of compliance.

It doesn’t appear Maldonado made many trips beyond the commercial zone so their absence from the program won’t make a lot of difference in the statistics, which already prove Mexican carriers capable of running compliant in the US under our rules and regulations

This post is part of the thread: Mexico Cross Border Pilot Program – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.