(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) charged with overseeing the cross-border long-haul Pilot Program on North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Trucking Provisions, has not taken definitive action to bar participation of unsafe Mexico-domiciled motor carriers. The Pilot Program was created to test and demonstrate the ability of Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to operate safely in the U.S. beyond the municipalities on the U.S.-Mexico international border or the commercial zones of such municipalities.
Specifically, a recent Pre-Authorization Safety Audit (PASA) of RAM Trucking, a motor carrier that has applied for participation in the Pilot Program, exposes serious deficiencies. In addition, two motor carriers, Transportes Monteblanco AS DE CV and Servicio De Transporte Internacional y Local SA DE CV, continue to participate in the Pilot Program even though they received a less than Satisfactory rating in the safety Compliance Review (CR).
RAM Trucking has two affiliated trucking companies, Zaro Transportation LLC and Auto Transportes Zaros SA de CV. However, it did not identify these affiliates as it is legally required to do when it submitted its paperwork to participate in the Pilot Program. Yet, more importantly, these two affiliates have among the worst Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) scores for both driver fitness and vehicle maintenance in FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) database.
Joan Claybrook, Consumer Co-Chair of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) and former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said, “Zaro Transportation has a driver fitness BASIC score that is a disaster at 99.4% (100% being the worst score) and nearly as dismal a vehicle maintenance BASIC score of 95.7%. Auto Transportes Zaros SA de CV, likewise has an unheard of 99.4% driver fitness score, and an even lower vehicle maintenance BASIC score of 99.5%. The FMCSA should be using every tool available to protect motorists, not further endanger them by allowing treacherously unsafe Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to participate in the NAFTA Pilot Program.”
James Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said, “We’ve said all along that our concern about this program was ensuring that Mexican trucks and drivers meet our U.S. safety standards, and it’s clear that FMCSA has not been exercising the proper oversight to accomplish this goal. It’s wrong and inexcusable to endanger the traveling public in this way.”
“It’s blatantly clear that the only entities truly pushing for opening the border are big businesses in the United States seeking to force small business truckers to forfeit their own economic opportunities. FMCSA’s actions show that they are following an agenda for large economic interests and are determined to accept a significantly lower standard for trucks from Mexico than what they apply to those in the U.S. This altogether means compromised highway safety and loss of U.S. jobs,” said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
John Lannen, Executive Director of the Truck Safety Coalition, stated, “We urge Administrator Ferro to correct these deficiencies immediately and take the proper steps to ensure the DOT pilot program for Mexican trucks has the necessary safety measures and procedures to protect the motoring public. Failure to do so will continue to undermine the already low confidence in the study and needlessly endanger the American public.”
According to Henry Jasny, Vice President and General Counsel of Advocates. “The participation of Transportes Monteblanco AS DE CV and Servicio De Transporte Internacional y Local SA DE CV should have been summarily terminated on the date they failed to receive a Satisfactory safety rating. The FMCSA has committed a breach of faith with the American public.”