In a recent post, I commented on allegations made by OOU President Dan Little, accusing FMCSA of falsifying CVSA inspections records for Mexican motor carriers. Mr Little took it upon himself and his organization to respond to that post with the records of 13 “randomly” selected Mexican carriers from the FMCSA SAFERSYS database. Mr Little made these allegations about the carrier list he submitted. They are:
These carriers were chosen at random from FMCSA SafeStat 200 trucks in this study, Fleet size varies from 3 to 42 trucks per carrier.
- 779 OOS violations were issued [over 300%]
- 226 OOS violations for Brakes [over 100%]
- 160 OOS violations for Tires [80%]
- 34 OOS violations issued to Drivers [1 of every 17 drivers]
- 16 OOS violations issued for No license or No CDL [1 of every 8 drivers]
After a closer look at the carriers submitted by Mr. Little, I question the true “randomness” of his selections, since he included the original participant, Transportes Olympic of Apodaca Nuevo Leon, in his list of examples.
Transportes Olympics and it’s owner, Fernando Paez also operates in the United States without restriction under the names Fernando Paez Transports (DOT#553886) and OMC Carriers (DOT# 1281837) Their website is Olympic Trailers Records show they have a combined fleet of 56 units operating throughout the United States and Mexico.
In confirming or refuting the information submitted by Mr. Little, we’re going to rely on industry standards as set by the CVSA and FMCSA For each company we’ll look at
- # of Vehicle Inspections
- # of OOS (Out of Service) Inspections
- #of Driver Inspections
- # of Driver OOS Inspections
- The % of #’s 2 & 4 in relation to the National Average
- And most importantly, The Inspection Selection System (ISS-D) Recommendation
The Inspection Selection System (ISS-D) Recommendation is the number the DOT, State Troopers or Federal Inspectors see when they pull up the USDOT # on their computers. Below is the key to this important number.
||ISS Inspection Value
|Inspect (inspection warranted)
|Optional (may be worth a look)
|Pass (no inspection required)
First let’s establish a benchmark to compare the Mexican carriers against. I am truly going to pick 2 US carriers at random. Random, because one is sitting beside me and the other is parked in front of me.
OVERVIEW OF CARRIERS IN LITTLE’S LIST
SAFERSYS Information for selected Mexican Carriers
This table is a selection of data from the FMCSA SAFERSYS database for carriers selected by OOU President Dan Little for examination
The numbers in the table corresponding to the companies selected by Mr Little is what counts. Nothing more!
That is what Federal and State Inspectors look at to determine the carriers fitness to operate and the need for closer inspection or audit.
For the past 15 years, all that have opposed this program have looked for the little niggardly thiings and tried to make them look like something drastic. They expect any Mexican carrier to be perfect. ZERO violations, ZERO defects etc. and like US and Canadian carriers, there is no such thing as perfection in this industry. The violations pointed out by Mr Little are much the same found in the US trucking industry.
Flat Tires, we’ve all been there trying to get to a repair shop so we don’t need to call road service.
The securement rules are relatively new. Tying a strap together to extend the life and using it on a non load bearing surface, such as a tarp, been there done that as most flat rackers have done.
We’ve all been caught with brakes out of adjustment. Airlines hitting the deck plate is a violation although not critical, but something an inspector can write you for, if he has a burr up his ass.
Reviewing the violations, I also noticed the majority of violations that are specific to Mexican carriers, and not required or enforced against US or Canadian carriers.
Transportes Olympic has a number of OOS violations for NOT DISPLAYING A CURRENT CVSA STICKER. That is specific to the Pilot Program, and looking at the dates of the inspections, were past the 3 months of the beginning of the program. And there is a conundrum here. They had to have them before entering the US, but had to enter the US to obtain them. These were the rules and apparently the FMCSA inspectors at the border used this as an opportunity to nail them. Pretty chickenshit if you ask me.
The second OOS issue is enforcment of 391.11(b)(2), the English language requirement. is ambiguous at best, and open to many different interpretations. The rule needs clarification and guidelines for enforcement. A person I might understand would be different for say, Mr. Little. There were a number of drivers put out of service under this regulation.
And in conclusion, I’d also point out that. 3 companies, including Trinity Industries that Mr Little and OOIDA have used to try to portray Mexican trucks as being unsafe and not fit to travel our highways, are in fact, subsidiaries owned by US companies and under the control of the US company.
- Logicorp of Hidalgo Texas
- Trinity Industries
And since the opposition to Mexican trucking continues to use Trinity Industries as the poster child for why Mexican trucks should not be allowed in the US, the final report from the USDOT Office of Inspector General had this to say.
“Trinity Industries de Mexico (Trinity) withdrew from the project to avoid business disruptions; and its prior safety history showed that its out-of-service rates were lower than those of United States carriers. Trinity did not respond to our request for information on its withdrawal from the demonstration project, but our review of Trinity’s written request to withdraw and our discussions with FMCSA personnel indicated that Trinity withdrew from the demonstration project on its own initiative. Further, our analysis of safety performance data indicated that Trinity was not an unsafe carrier in comparison to U.S. carriers. Our review found the following.
- Trinity officials informed FMCSA that requirements to check every truck during every border crossing were proving costly to its operations. Our analysis showed that when Trinity was participating in the demonstration project, it received an average of 16 inspections each day. When not participating, the inspection rate dropped to less than one inspection per day.
- Trinity trucks were not traveling beyond the commercial zone during the demonstration project and a return to commercial zone operations would not disrupt business operations.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s (OOIDA) claim that Trinity had received over 112 violations per truck during the year prior to the demonstration project was substantiated; but OOIDA’s claim did not indicate that Trinity’s out-of-service violations numbered only 74, or an average of 7.4 out-of-service violations per motorized vehicle over the 1-year period. Trinity’s out-of-service rates were lower than similar rates for United States carriers during this same period. We found no evidence that Trinity or other demonstration project participants had poor safety “”
That should put to rest the BS about Trinity, but of course it won’t.
As Tim Brady, business editor for various independent trucking mags and owner of TruckersU had to say to a caller on the Lockridge Report, who started mouthing the usual rhetoric about unsafe trucks, no regulation etc. He asked the caller to prove his allegations and he mentioned OOIDA. Brady replied that throughout the debate, that OOIDA was long on allegations and misinformation but had offered not one iota of proof to back the accusations. That seems to have been the modus operandi of this entire debate, and I don’t see it stopping.
Oh, and if your trying to figure out what misinformation was debunked by Mr Little, consider this.
Contained in the table above, just of the carriers selected by Mr Little, there was 4640 vehicles inspection and 4949 driver inspections.
Quite a lot wouldn’t you say? OOIDA, OOU, Teamsters, and the talking heads on the overnight trucking shows try to convince you that,
- Mexican trucks get special treatment, preference at the border and while traveling in the interior of the US
- Mexican trucks are exempt from following our rules and regs and does so without penalty
- Mexican trucks are exempt from inspections and compliance, etc.
I think the numbers tend to dispute those assertions.