Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dangerous Mexican trucks allowed in pilot program; Teamsters object

The Teamsters and allies today told the U.S. Department of Transportation that dangerous Mexican trucks are allowed into a pilot program that opens the border to a limited number of carriers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which administers the pilot program, is only supposed to admit carriers with good safety records.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa co-signed a letter sent today to  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) chief Anne Ferro accusing her of endangering the driving public.

The letter states two Mexican carriers hid their dreadful safety records by creating a third company -- and didn't disclose that to the FMCSA in order to be admitted to the pilot program. Two others companies were allowed to continue in the pilot program despite less-than-satisfactory ratings in their safety compliance reviews. Finally, FMCSA promised it would review how its studying the pilot program. It did not.

Said Hoffa in a press release, 
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.
The press release states FMCSA 
...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.
The Teamsters' allies include the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safety Highways and the Truck Safety Coalition.