Drivers that have been stopped on U.S. highways have high out of service (OOS) rates for operating without a drivers license, for not having a legal license to operate the vehicle they were driving, and for not having hours of service (HOS) logbooks and records of duty status (RODS) as required under U.S. law.
Vehicles that have been stopped on U.S. highway have high rates of poorly adjusted brakes and inoperable lamps.
Mexico does not require workplace drug and alcohol testing of truck drivers as under U.S. law.
Hours of Service:
- There is rampant drug use among Mexican truck drivers as a means to stay awake because employers push them to the limit;
- There are no certified drug/alcohol testing laboratories in Mexico;
- Samples collected in Mexico have to be sent to a U.S. lab for analysis;
- The DOT Inspector General cannot verify that drug/alcohol sample collection procedures in Mexico meet U.S. standards for quality, purity and security;
- Samples collected at the U.S. border may prove more reliable, but letting drivers know when and where they will be tested defeats the purpose of random testing and does not address U.S. requirements for pre-employment and reasonable suspicion testing.
- There needs to be scientifically valid random drug testing.
In addition to not maintaining HOS records, Mexico has no enforced HOS requirements so drivers can operate for an unlimited number of hours within Mexico and arrive at the U.S. border fatigued. Up until two years ago, Mexican drivers were not even required to carry logbooks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration admits that it cannot penalize a driver for actions that occurred in Mexico if they have a logbook and other required records.
Mexican Drivers License:
Fraudulent commercial drivers licenses are easy to obtain in Mexico. They are available on street corners for the right price. There is no agreement between the U.S. and Mexico on medical standards for commercial drivers licenses.
Mexican drivers are not subject to the same disqualifications of their CDL for violations occurring in their personal vehicle.
A Mexican driver that could be disqualified under the U.S. system will be able to drive on our U.S. highways.
Operating Authority Enforcement:
Half of the U.S. States either have not enforced the laws against vehicles that lack operating authority or have problems obtaining the information needed to confirm if a vehicle lacks operating authority.
States are required to supply data on violations and convictions of Mexican drivers in the U.S. to a federal database. There have been serious problems with reporting these violations and convictions in each border State. About one-quarter (25%) of the requests for information on Mexican drivers indicate that the driver has a violation or conviction.
Bus Safety Inspections:
The DOT Inspector General found that further improvements are needed at border crossings including inspection ramps and full-time personnel to accommodate bus and motorcoach inspections. In order to evade the fact that preparations for bus inspections are not complete, buses and motorcoaches are not included in the pilot program.
The U.S. and Mexico have not reached agreement regarding the movement of placarded hazardous materials shipments from Mexico into the U.S. and beyond the commercial border zones. U.S. law requires criminal background checks be performed for CDL drivers with a hazardous materials endorsement. In order to evade the fact that the safety of cross-border hazardous materials shipments have not been addressed they are also excluded.
One of the most frequent Out-of-Service violations for Mexican drivers hauling hazardous materials into the commercial zones is mis-placarding or no placarding at all. If hazmat shipments are not labeled properly, how will we be sure that hazardous materials are not coming beyond the commercial zones via this pilot program.
Vehicles Not Built to U.S. Standards:
Federal law requires that vehicles operated in the U.S. must meet the federal motor vehicle safety standards. Until 1996, most trucks and buses built in Mexico were not built to U.S. standards. Since then, an unknown number of trucks have not included safety equipment required by U.S. standards, such as antilock braking systems. Unless the vehicle has a certification label, border inspectors will not be able to determine whether a truck or bus entering the U.S. is as safe as vehicles built to the U.S. safety standards.
The DOT Border Pilot Program is Illegal:
The safety problems mentioned above are covered by Section 350, which requires that DOT must completely fulfill these goals before the border with Mexico can be opened. Until those requirements have been fully completed, the border cannot legally be opened to any trucks. In addition, federal law governs how pilot programs must be carried out, and sets certain safety and procedural criteria that must be met. Section 4007, Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (1998). DOT and FMCSA have also not complied with that law.
Mexico-domiciled Motor Carriers Pose Threat to "Cabotage" Rules:
NAFTA, customs and immigration related regulations restrict foreign-based trucks and drivers to carrying international shipments between their home countries and individual points in the U.S. Generally referred to as "cabotage" rules, these regulations also prohibit foreign trucks and drivers from moving domestic loads from point to point within the U.S. Once a foreign-domiciled truck crosses the border and enters the interior of our country, they will encounter virtually no enforcement of these regulations. Mexican truckers willing to haul at substantially lower rates will become a very attractive option to domestic shippers, brokers and freight forwarders. With no credible enforcement effort in place to deter them, Mexican motor carriers will surely seize the opportunity to arrange the pick up and delivery of loads all over the U.S., earning far more than they can in their own country.
Crashes by Mexico-domiciled Motor Carriers Raise Concerns Over Insurance Coverage:
In the event of a crash or serious accident that involves either liability for serious injury or extensive freight clean up on a U.S. highway, Mexico-domiciled motor carriers have an advantage over U.S. companies. U.S. motor carriers are covered by insurance and the company's assets, if necessary, are subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. The same is not true for Mexico-domiciled motor carriers whose only exposure is, for all practical purposes, only the amount of insurance coverage they are required to maintain by FMCSA. Although Mexico-domiciled motor carriers can be sued in Mexico, it is onerous for U.S. citizens and localities to sue under the judicial system in Mexico.