OOIDA is nothing if not persistent. Just over two weeks after A D.C. District court judge denied OOIDA’s attempt to mandate a closer look at the cross-border trucking program, they’re back up and at it again. And they just got two new reasons to try and kill this program: A hazardous HazMat company and a deadly fireball.
The last argument that OOIDA presented was that safety and enforcement standards for Mexican carriers are lower than they are for American CDL holders. While anyone who’s hauled in Mexico (or anyone who has read the safety requirements) can tell you that this is absolutely true, the judge ruled that the standards for Mexican drivers “would provide a level of safety at least equivalent to the American standards taken as a whole.”
This time the argument is a bit different, but still along the same lines. While American drivers are required to receive medical certification from an FMCSA-approved medical examiner, there is no such stipulation for Mexican drivers. This would theoretically make them more dangerous to have on America’s roadways.
All of these arguments are happening at a time when new Mexican carriers are still applying to be a part of the program. Just this week a new carrier, Servicio de Transporte Internacional y Local, has applied to be a part of the program. If approved, STIL would be the largest fleet – 20 trucks – to be approved so far. Their safety record is far from exemplary. The FMCSA completed a compliance review in February that found five violations including allowing a driver to operate a vehicle before a negative pre-employment controlled substance test result was returned; not maintaining an accident report for three years following an accident; failing to make drivers give them a list of traffic violations every 12 months; failing to require drivers to make records of duty status; failing to maintain completed inspection forms for 12 months after inspection dates.
Despite these violations, the FMCSA said they “did not rise to the level of critical violation.” STIL hauls hazardous materials.
To top it all off, as if to punctuate the whole situation, on Tuesday a tanker truck exploded just outside of Mexico City killing 23 people and wounding many more. According to reports, the truck was speeding and crashed into several cars and houses before exploding on the highway. CNN reports that at least 100 residents lost their homes, 45 houses were damaged, and 16 vehicles were destroyed.
Image Source: cnn