OOIDA says safety data lacking from cross-border trucking pilot Photo courtesy of CBP

OOIDA says safety data lacking from cross-border trucking pilot

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is expressing major concerns about the lack of what the group calls “statistically lacking” safety data on Mexican motor carriers following the conclusion of the three year U.S.-Mexico cross border long haul trucking pilot program.

OOIDA penned a letter to Scott Darling, acting administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), asking for more details about what the agency plans to do next in regards to allowing Mexican trucking firms to operate freely in the U.S.

The cross-border pilot program has long been a center of controversy, with OOIDA suing three years ago to try and stop it from ever starting.

Now the group is concerned that FMCSA may move forward with efforts to grant Mexican trucking firms  broader access to the U.S. despite a lack of safety data generated by the pilot program.

One critical prerequisite FMCSA of the cross-border program, OOIDA stressed, hinged on the need for at least 46 Mexican carriers to participate with at least 4,100 inspections needing to be conducted on them in order for program data to be statistically valid.

Yet only 13 Mexican trucking companies participated in the pilot, OOIDA said, out of total of 132,000 Mexican-domiciled carriers. FMCSA also set an “upper limit” on program participants at 316 carriers, and while 46 carriers would have represented 15% of that population, the 13 participating carriers represent just over 4% – with just two of those 13 carriers accounting for 90% of all border crossings during the three year pilot and 81% of the 5,175 safety inspections conducted during that time period as well.

“The agency threw a party and nobody came,” Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive VP, told Fleet Owner. “On top of that, only 5% of the destinations for the Mexican carriers participating in the program were outside the border commercial zone. Our perspective is that this is not even close to a statically valid pilot.”

Spencer also noted in the letter that “what is most alarming” about the inspection data generated by the pilot program is that Mexican trucks and/or their drivers were not being placed out-of-service for violations that would warrant such action nor are they being placed out of service at the same rate as U.S.-domiciled trucks and/or drivers for similar violations.

“This disparity in enforcement action raises safety concerns in general, but especially about the pilot program,” he added. “We think that U.S. truck drivers deserve far better than this from the agency that so closely monitors them.”

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