Mexican Cross Border Pilot Program – 10th Month Assessment

VW Class 8 ConstellationYesterday was the tenth month of the Mexican Cross Border Pilot Program and an assessment of the performance of the participants reveals no surprises, at least for me. For those who oppose the program, the results might be an eye opener disputing Jimmy Hoffa’s claims of “dangerous Mexican trucks”. Ironically, it coincided with Byron Dorgan’s ultimately futile attempt to stop the program.

Methodology

Obviously, we took the USDOT numbers assigned to the participants and ran them through the FMCSA SAFERSYS database. All records are current through 6/20/2008.

Next, we choose the date range (09/11/2007) which was the date the first truck rolled across the border, to present. Despite organizations like OOIDA using a broader range of dates which encompass Mexican drayage operations to skew the data in their favor, this date range is all that is relevant to assess the performance and compliance of the participants.

Results

We discovered nothing surprising in our research. Most companies are in compliance. Most inspections were conducted in Texas and California international crossings.

It does not appear the Mexican participants are being given a free pass as some claim nor are they being held to a lower standard of compliance. On the contrary. Looking at some of the reasons for vehicles being put out of service, this would suggest they are being held to a higher standard. Some of the reason, I have never encountered in my 33 years in the business. California takes the lead in these vague OOS criteria. And of course, California CMV inspectors have been known to enforce laws and regulations that exist only in their minds.

Remember AVOMEX INTERNATINONAL? They were a participant that OOIDA went on the attack against last year with erroneous information. [cref avomex-international-newest-participant-in-cross-border-program We made reference to it in this article.] Further disputing the libelous claims made against this company by OOIDA, statistics show that their drivers were subjected to 706 Driver inspections (Level III) resulting in only 3 Out Of Service Orders. Failure to retain previous 7 days logs and English Proficiency were the reasons. This same company received 153 Level I inspections resulting in 10 OOS orders, mainly for brakes adjustment and load securement. Inspections were conducted by FMCSA and Texas DPS inspectors. Not a bad result for such a bad company.

The worst? GCC Transportation out of Chihuahua, perhaps should be given a closer look and given conditional authority for the time being. They can’t seem to get a handle on their problems or perhaps the inspectors aren’t cutting any slack. Who knows. They seem to come in at the bottom of the list.

Two companies reported accidents. Both in California. One an injury accident and the other, a reportable crash. Fender Bender? Probably! No information is available on either of these incidents.

During the past 10 months, only one citation was issued for a moving violation. I did not look further into this. I had my mind on other things.

Conclusions

As stated, for me, there were no surprises. These carriers are operating within the same statistics as they American and Canadian counterparts.

The inspection reports are available online but the violations listed are generic. For instance, “tire flat or tread showing” doesn’t tell us much. Which is it? What is a “steering component worn”? I just had my shackle bushings replaced because they were extremely worn and popping, yet last month, I passed a Level I inspection by the Louisiana State Police. The rules, to a large extent, are broad enough to be open to interpretation of individual inspectors.

None of these trucks have been reported involved in illegal activities, such as drug or human smuggling, debunking once again, the claims of the opposition.

With the exception of Transportes Olympics which services customers in the US Southeast, most seem to operate within the State adjacent to their home domiciles. And that is their decision.

Also, it needs to be noted, that we have no way of telling if the trucks are solely those used in the Cross Border Program or a combination of the companies cross border drayage operations and long haul operations. The VIN numbers to the individual equipment, which is available on SAFERSYS would shed light on this, but quite frankly, I don’t have the time nor the desire to check them.

The performance of these carriers, the lack of major incidents all prove their fitness to hold USDOT operating authority and to continue to operate in the United States if they desire to do so.

Nothing in these statistics suggest the trucks to be dangerous nor the drivers to be unqualified.

Nothing suggests that State and Federal authorities are giving any Mexican carrier a free pass or a wink and a nod to operate in a manner contrary to public safety.

Once again, this is a non issue except for the protectionists among us who’s minds cannot be polluted with facts.

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