The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed three rules May 1 that concern the regulation of Mexican trucks that do business in the United States.
If they are adopted, the rules would:
· Establish an application form and process for Mexican carriers that seek U.S. DOT authority to operate only in U.S. municipalities and commercial zones adjacent to Mexico in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
· Establish an application form and process for Mexican carriers that seek U.S. DOT authority to operate beyond municipalities and commercial zones at the U.S.-Mexico border.
· Establish a safety-monitoring system and enforcement regime, dubbed the Safety Monitoring System and Compliance Initiative for Mexican Motor Carriers Operating in the U.S., to help determine whether Mexican carriers that conduct business anywhere in the United States comply with applicable safety regulations and conduct safe operations.
The first two proposals would establish new application procedures for Mexican motor carriers that seek operating authority, require carriers to provide detailed information about safety practices and require carriers to certify compliance with FMCSA regulations. Carriers need this application to obtain U.S. DOT numbers, which would allow them to operate in the United States. DOT officials said that Mexican carriers would be subject to the same safety standards that apply to U.S. and Canadian carriers.
The third proposal would require Mexican carriers to undergo at least one satisfactory safety audit within 18 months of receiving authority to begin operating in the United States. The audit would evaluate the carrier’s safety performance and basic safety management controls.
The DOT would collect and review information about the carrier’s driver medical qualifications; hours of service; drug and alcohol testing; and vehicle inspection, maintenance and repair.
If an audit determined that a carrier failed to exercise basic safety management controls, its operating authority would be suspended, and it would be required to cease operations in the United States.
“These rulemakings will help ensure that all Mexican trucks and drivers entering the United States will be subject to the same safety standards that apply to U.S. and Canadian carriers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.
Mineta said that the United States plans to begin permitting Mexican carriers to operate stateside by the end of the year. The FMCSA also is developing a proposal to establish a similar monitoring system for all U.S. and Canadian-based carriers that begin operations in the same time frame.