The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Wednesday has published a notice in the Federal Register seeking comments on what could become the seventh Mexico-domiciled carrier to be granted authority to participate in the cross-border pilot program with Mexico.
Transportes Monteblanco SA de CV, a carrier based in Distrito Federal, Mexico, has passed it’s pre-authorization safety audit with two trucks and four drivers being approved.
FMCSA will accept comments for a period of 10 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. To make a comment on the fitness of this carrier, you can go to regulations.gov and search for FMCSA 2011-0097.
It is interesting to note that FMCSA, when publishing the request for comments for Transportes Monteblanco SA de CV, gave tacit acknowledgement to issues we raised against OOIDA’s obstructionist and intimidating tactics using the agencies comment system.
In a comment that we made in response to OOIDA’s protest against the entry of GCC Transportes inclusion into the program, we pointed out to the agency that OOIDA was using the comment period to delay approval of each carrier seeking entry into the program by protesting each and every oversight, clerical error or what they considered “not enough information to satisfy Todd Spencer”. These tactics also served as a tool of intimidation to force other potential applicants to rethink their decision to apply.
FMCSA in it notice took a pro-active route, pointing out all areas of dispute that OOIDA and it allied bogus safety groups could use to protest and delay the application of Transportes Monteblanco SA de CV.
The FMCSA noted:
- Transportes Monteblanco SA de CV has affiliations with additional companies, US based with similar names. The carriers are, Transportes Monteblanco, an interstate motor carrier and MG Alimentos Inc., an intrastate motor carrier
- The information was not reflected on the carrier’s applications but was vetted and added during the PASA which is allowed under agency rules.
- The operating authority associated with Transportes Monteblanco was revoked on April 18, 2012 and reinstated on July 23, 2012 and reinstatement fees paid. The reason was lapsed insurance. The carrier filed evidence of insurance with the agency on April 26, 2012. FMCSA determined that the carrier did not violate laws by operating without authority during the period authority was revoked. The operated hauling exempt commodities which do not require authority. This was confirmed through three different inspections during that period of time.
- FMCSA also confirmed the affiliated carrier Transportes Monteblanco, has a Safety Measurement System (SMS) alert in the Fatigued Driving (Hours of Service) BASIC. While this could be cause for concern, FMCSA determined that Transportes Monteblanco SA de CV was created to fulfill a separate business need and not to evade or conceal a negative safety performance history of the affiliated motor carriers. Therefore, FMCSA will not apply the affiliates SMS score to the applicant when determining applicants fitness to operate.
- FMCSA also noted that the applicant, Transportes Monteblanco SA de CV currently has a 100 percent driver out of service rate as a commercial zone carrier. This is based on 2 inspections in a 24 month period. The drivers who were cited under 391.11.(b)(2), English Proficiency.
According to the notice,“Both inspections were conducted by FMCSA staff members on May 10 to verify the compliance of the vehicles and the drivers proposed to participate in the pilot program. During these inspections, the drivers were cited for failing to communicate in English. However, these drivers proposed for participation in the pilot program were retested for English language proficiency on May 31, and passed that evaluation.”
So FMCSA is getting serious about OOIDA and others abuse of the system and the delays caused by their mostly frivolous comments designed to run the clock out on the three year program, denying the agency the participation needed to acquire a “statistically valid sampling” to assess the ability of Mexican carriers to operate safely in the United States, something that has already been proven for most of the last 60 years.
Kudos to William Quade, assistant administrator for progam enforcement at the FMCSA for coming up with this excellent proactive approach to the opposition.
Of course, we’ll always have frivolous and bigoted comments such as this one left by “Jean Public” that have absolutely nothing to do with the fitness of carriers to participate and are generally ignored.
Will this new proactive approach be enough to stifle OOIDA’s often frivolous objections to future entrants? We doubt it. There are those in the leadership that think they personally have the right to know everything and anything about the drivers and the carriers that employee them, which they don’t.