DOT Proposes Safety Rules for Mexican Trucks
May 1, 2001 12:00 PM
The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on May 1 proposed three separate rules addressing the safe operation of Mexican trucks in the United States and requirements that they comply with US safety regulations.
“President Bush has made a firm commitment to implement the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) trucking provisions, and his administration has begun doing that,” Transportation Secretary Norman Y Mineta said. “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 US and Canadian carriers.”
According to a timetable outlined at a meeting with representatives from the Government of Mexico on March 22, the United States will permit authorized Mexican carriers to operate throughout the United States before the end of this year.
If adopted, the proposals posted at the Federal Register today would:
*Establish an application form and process for Mexican carriers seeking US DOT authority to operate only in US municipalities and commercial zones adjacent to Mexico in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
*Establish an application form and process for Mexican carriers seeking US DOT authority to operate beyond municipalities and commercial zones at the US-Mexico border.
*Establish a safety monitoring system and enforcement regime, the Safety Monitoring System and Compliance Initiative for Mexican Motor Carriers Operating in the US, to help determine whether Mexican carriers conducting 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 seeking operating authority, require carriers to provide detailed information about their safety practices, and require carriers to certify compliance with US motor carrier safety regulations. The application is necessary for a carrier to obtain a US DOT number, which will allow them to operate in the United States. Mexican carriers will be subject to the same safety standards that now apply to US and Canadian carriers.
The third US DOT proposal would to require, as a condition of registration, that all Mexican new entrant carriers undergo at least one satisfactory safety audit within 18 months of receiving authority to operate in the United States. The purpose of the safety audit would be to evaluate a Mexican carrier’s safety performance and basic safety management controls. It would accomplish this by reviewing information about the carrier, including records related to driver medical qualifications, driver hours of service, drug and alcohol testing, and vehicle inspection, maintenance and repair.
According to the proposed rule, if an audit determines that a carrier does not satisfactorily exercise basic safety management controls, its operating authority would be suspended and it would be required to cease operation in the United States.
The FMCSA also is developing a proposal to establish a comparable safety monitoring system for all new entrant US and Canadian-based carriers as required by the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.
The three notices of proposed rulemakings are in the US DOT docket (Docket Numbers FMCSA-98-3297, FMCSA-98-3298, FMCSA-98-3299). Written comments on the notices of proposed rulemaking should be sent by July 2, 2001 to the USDOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket No. FMCSA-98-3297, 3298, 3299, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590-0001. The proposed rules also are on the Internet and can be viewed after searching at .