LaHood Overhauling Mexican Truck Program
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told a National Press Club gathering May 21 that his plan to overhaul the controversial Mexican truck demonstration program is now being vetted by the White House and has the support of “a number of members of Congress.” If he gets his way, Mexican tractor-trailer rigs will soon be crossing our nation’s southern border once again on their way to delivering goods to destinations within the United States. But at what cost?
Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association have long opposed any rebirth of the North American Free Trade Agreement program that members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to kill in March. The group’s opposition to the plan is based, in part, upon information found during OOIDA Treasurer Rick Craig’s 12-month review of records in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration SafeStat database that prompted them to oppose the demonstration program launched in September 2007 [Related item: Declaration of Catherine O'Mara].
The review revealed patterns (see this chart) of unsafe operations by Mexico-domiciled motor carriers operating within the commercial border areas of the United States — carriers that had passed an FMCSA safety audit, a prerequisite for participation in the aforementioned demonstration project. Two examples of findings appear below:
- One of those carriers, Trinity Industries de Mexico, had amassed 1,123 violations — or 112 violations per vehicle registered with FMCSA — during the one-year period; and
- Another carrier, GCC Transporte, SA, had been cited for 372 violations — or 36 violations per FMCSA-registered vehicle — during the same period.
More on this subject is available here.