Mexico years ahead of US on medical requirements for commercial drivers

Cross Border Pilot Program a cooperative effort between two countriesThe Mexican Cross Border Pilot Program enters it 13 month without incident, accident or serious safety violations, the FMCSA has a medical review committee trying to rewrite the requirements for CDL medical examiners and the critics of the Pilot Program continue to insist that that requirements for a Mexican CDL or Licencia Federal Conductor are lax or non existent.

Once again, Mexico Truckers proves them wrong and exposes these outlandish claims being made by Jimmy Hoffa, Todd Spencer and the staff at Landline Now.

Let’s take a look at the medical requirements for a Mexican driver. They are very similar to what is being proposed for future rule making by the FMCSA. But wait! The FMCSA is still just kicking these requirements around, while in Mexico, they have been law for many years.

I’ll direct your to the website of Secretary of Communications and Transport Mexico’s equivalent of the FMCSA.

This agency makes and enforces the rules governing all commercial drivers, airline pilot’s and locomotive engineers in Mexico.

Let’s take a look at the medical requirements for a trucker in Mexico applying for or renewing his Licencia Federal.

Take a look at the opening page, Mexico en el Transporte contigo, the literal translation, “Mexico in the truck with you”!

Below that, “Objetivos” or “Objectives”, loosely translated means

Sector Communications and Transport has, as one of its priority objectives, to improve safety levels and improve channels of communication, through prevention and reduction of accidents that occur on the highways.
In the context of different conceptions about the purposes and models of development, population growth and associated economic activities have increased the demands of the practice of psychophysical examinations, medical and toxicological operation in most parts of the country.

We could stop right there, because that statement proves my position and shows us that the claims of Teamsters officials and OOIDA are simply untruthful exaggerations. But we’ll continue on.

Page two or Quien Somos (Who or we) confirms the above objective and goes a step further.

Garantizar la seguridad Operacional en todos los modos del transporte en las Vías Generales de Comunicación
Preservar la salud del personal del transporte público federal
Prevenir riesgos laborales y enfermedades predisponentes a estos……..

Guarantee the operational security in all modes of transport and Preserve the health of the staff of the federal public transport (truck, bus, taxi, rail engineers, pilots and firefighters)
Preventing occupational hazards and diseases predisposing to these occupations

Page Three explains the importance of these objectives. IMPORTANCIA DE LA MEDICINA PREVENTIVA I bet you can figure that out, even if you don’t speak Spanish, but if not, it is “Importance of Preventive Medicine”

The Communications and Transport sector, has as one of its priority objectives, improve safety levels in the Inland General Communication (VGC), through prevention and reduction of accidents that occur in them.

Accidents on the Roads General Communications are regarded as a public health problem, and that generate a high mortality rate, a high number of disabled and considerable material losses.

The human factor is the main cause of accidents (90.0%), presented with a greater incidence, hepertensión, fatigue, drug use and alcohol, and preexisting diseases among others.

Psychophysical examinations, medical and toxicological in operation, are a valuable tool for SCT in the prevention of accidents, and to assess the health status of the operator, and whether in this condition they are fit to perform their duties in the VGC.

It has recognized the importance of evolving government and state action to respond to the demands raised by users of services.

The new structure provides that federal public transportation in Mexico, made it necessary to rethink the framework of operation in which practiced psycho-physical and medical examinations in operation, the General Directorate for Protection and Preventive Medicine Tranposts drives an approach that optimizes the practices of these examinations for the benefit of society as a whole.

That is why the actions of the work program of the period 2000 – 2006 are focused on the development of actions to consolidate the structural change of preventive medicine in a framework of shared responsibility with concecionarios permitholders and federal public transportation, allowing significantly reduce the rates of accident in general lanes of commerce.

The form a culture of safety and respect for life is a task of great importance in developing the transport sector, as it has implications for the prevention and reduction of accidents, preserving the physical integrity of the users of the Federal highway system , Equipment, goods carried and infrastructure

Once again, I could stop here, because my point is made and the claims of the opposition have been thoroughly debunked. Imagine! These rules have been in place since at least 2000, in the present form.

But let’s continue and look at the medical exams, the rules and procedures.

I’ve have been consistent in my position that the physical requirements for the Mexican commercial trucker is exactly the same as the requirements and resulting physical examination required of airline pilots around the world. Part of that test is the toxicological test, commonly known as the drug test in the US. Jimmy Hoffa and Todd Spencer continue to insist these do not exist or that there is no “Certified” drug labs in Mexico to do these tests.
Examen Toxicológico
Son los estudios clínicos efectuados al personal de la marina mercante, el técnico aeronáutico, de los operadores o conductores del transporte carretero y ferroviario y del personal auxiliar, con el propósito de detectar el consumo de drogas de abuso y alcohol, que inciden en el desarrollo seguro y eficaz de sus actividades en las vías generales de comunicación.

Translated, that is

Toxicology Review
Clinical studies are carried out to the staff of the merchant marine, aviation technician, the operators or drivers of road and rail transport and auxiliary staff with the aim of detecting the consumption of drugs and alcohol, which affect the development safe and effective for its activities in the broad avenues of communication.

People! This is not pissing in a bottle and sending it to an off site lab. This is blood tests to detect the presence of drugs or alcohol in the body. Another false claim of the opposition exposed and disproven!

Education is also paramount with the medical unit of the SCT. Preventive work of the Directorate General is not only done through the medical examination was also performed with the aim of creating a culture of respect for life among the staff of the Federal Public Transportation, achieving positive changes in attitude in caring for their health and lifestyle habits, this is done, with the dissemination of medical-sanitary measures and prevention of diseases predisposing, through the distribution of posters, brochures, participation in radio and the drafting of press releases and articles for magazines.

Trust, but verify! Wasn’t it Ronald Reagan who made that statement about the old Soviet Union? The same applies here. Verification of compliance by businesses of the federal public transport, with regards to medical and anti drug requirements

Sound a lot like the USDOT does it not? Same mission, same objective and same manner of enforcement.

But in Mexico, unlike the US, government medical facilities where approved drug tox tests can be given are not available on every street corner. In some of Mexico’s less populous states, there may be only one. The solution to this?

Mobile drug labs on call for Federal Police in MexicoMobile Drug labs! Staffed with a medical technician and a doctor, these can be called to any location needed by a Federal Officer who suspects a driver is impaired or after an accident involving a commercial vehicle.

The signage on the side of this van says

“Subsecretariat of Transport – Mobile Medical Unit – General Medicine and Prevention in Transports”

Mexico DOT has 27 of these mobile units available and on call in addition to 6 ambulances which serve a dual purpose.

We go on to the next page which contains a job description of sorts. There are pages for each occupation covered under these rules, but we are concentrating on the trucking population.

The activities of this position are cabs in various dimensions, depending on the type of vehicle, whether for passengers or cargo. The cabins of passenger vehicles also vary by brand and model, the same as that of commercial vehicles. It is generally required that the operator is a person physical fit, and he has to move with the foot pedals and take the steering wheel with two hands to properly steer. In this role requires the operator to this always on alert, aware of road conditions and the presence of other drivers. He also needs to be in good physical condition because he may have to, on occasion, make repairs to the vehicle.

And don’t think these are little hole in the wall locations for a bullshit physical. This page contains photos of some of the locations

We’ve established that truckers in Mexico do not have the freedom of choice as we do in the US. Further proof of this is this interactive map. Click on one of the states and the location of the government testing facility and supporting information pops up. These are the only places a trucker can go to for the required physical and tox tests. If there is not one in the state he lives in, tough titty! He has a bit of a trip before him.

How advanced is Mexico compared to the US? Consider that just now, FMCSA is considering rules that would place the DOT physical as a precondition of obtaining a CDL. Mexico has been doing that for years.

FMCSA is kicking around the idea of a national database to track all CDL holders drug test results. Mexico? Well, you want to know if a drivers medical card is valid, when it expires etc? Hell, just GO ONLINE AND CLICK

Go ahead, try it! Click on HISTORIAL MEDICO, enter a number, any 5 or 6 digit number you can think of, and somebodies history will come up. Name, type of exam, the date and place it occurred. Talk about privacy issues!

Click on CONSULTA VIGENCIA type in some numbers, it will give you a name, type of license, the state issued, the beginning and expiration date of the license.

Hey! Wait just a damned second! Did I just discover a “database” of Federal Driver Records that Jimmy Hoffa, Todd Spencer, Steve and Dale Sommers swears does not exist in Mexico?

“We know the Bush administration can’t guarantee that trucks and drivers from Mexico are safe,” Hoffa said. “We know there aren’t any certified drug testing labs in Mexico. We know the database for Mexican driver traffic violations is inadequate. We know Mexico doesn’t enforce hours-of-service violations.”

Sorry Jimmy, but I think I just proved you to be what we’ve all known you to be for sometime! A person who has a problem with the truth and with reality! Ditto for Spencer and the rest of them, who chose to parrot Hoffa’s misguided protectionist comments.

It’s a amazing what one man with a brain can accomplish ain’t it!

Let’s hurry this along and finish with a translation of their FAQ page. How does one go about scheduling the appointment and what is required at the time of the appointment.

How can I make an appointment for the processing of psycho-physical aptitude test integral, issuance and renewal of the federal license?
To make an appointment you need to call 01 800 900 0013 from 9:00 am to 15:00 pm. Monday through Friday.

What are the requirements that I must fulfill?

The requirements are:
Please report after fasting a minimum of 8 hrs.
Show a Valid official identification, voter card, driver’s license or passport.
2 recent passport-size photographs full face.
2 copies of birth certificate.
1 copy of proof of address
Proof of completion of required Transport training course 40 hours (You will be asked in license processing )

Who is not given the constancy of Medical Fitness?
a) By Staff who does not comply with the mandatory and essential psycho-physical conditions, regulated by the profile physician scientist for each mode of transport, it will decide unfit.

b) When the toxicological examination has detected theapplicantsl ingestion of alcohol or psychotropic substances, including drugs for this purpose and all those drugs whose use is prohibited or affect their ability to perform its work, the Directorate notify the authority that issued the license or Federal Title, Certificate, Book of the Sea and Maritime Identity, for the purpose will be brought to account.

c) By Staff to be positive for the consumption of psychotropic substances for this purpose, including medicinal drugs to all those whose use is prohibited or affect its ability to conduct their work or by ingestion of alcoholic beverages, it will decide as unfit.

The last paragraph concerns failure of the tox tests.

More Proof to the contrary of what the opponents claim

Published in the Federal Register / Vol. 62, No. 65 / Friday, April 4, 1997

Special Topics—International

Question 1: The driver’s medical exam is part of the Mexican LicenciaFederal. If a roadside inspection revealsthat a Mexico-based driver has not had the medical portion of the Licencia Federal re-validated, is the driver considered to be without a valid medical certificate or without a valid license?

Guidance: The Mexican Licencia Federal is issued for a period of 10 years but must be re-validated every 2 years. A condition of re-validation is that the driver must pass a new physical examination. The dates for each re-validation are on the Licencia Federaland must be stamped at the completion of each physical. This constitutes documentation that the driver is medically qualified. Therefore, if the Licencia Federal is not re-validated every 2 years as specified by Mexican law, the driver’s license is considered invalid

1997? 11 years ago? Further proof that James P. Hoffa is committing perjury whenever he testifies to the facts as he chooses to believe them. The rest of the time, he and others are outright lying when they try to convince the public that Mexico has lax licensing standards, no medical requirements and no certified drug testing facilities..

That always raises the question in my mind. “Certified” by whom? The United States? What business does the US have in certifying any government entity in another country? As far back as 1992, the United States acknowledged that the Mexican Licencia Federal Conductor was very similar to ours and acceptable, in the same manner the Canadian commercial license is.

Need further proof? Consider this from the CVSA which is a guidance card for enforcement officers to help them recognize the various facets of the Licencia Federal. Highlighted is the fact that the medical portion, including drug testing is an integral part of the licensing process.

CVSA cheat card for enforcement officers to understand the Mexican Licencia Federal Conductor

So now! Can anyone truthfully say that Mexico has less stringent safety requirements than the US?

I think I have gone well beyond any shadow of a doubt and proved my position and exposed the lies of the opposition!