FMCSA revokes authority of Mexican carrier in pilot program for HOS, log violations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has revoked the authority of a participant in the pilot trucking program with Mexico, just as the North American Free Trade Agreement enters its 20th year.

The FMCSA revoked the provisional operating authority of Sergio Tristan Maldonaldo, DBA Tristan Transfer on Jan. 23. Tristan has option of requesting administrative review that could return the carrier to the program it entered last July.

The two-truck, five-driver carrier received a conditional rating during a Dec. 20 compliance review. The carrier was given until Jan. 19 to correct issues to avoid revocation, but failed to present proof of correction to the FMCSA by that time.

The agency noted a dozen safety management control violations, such as non-compliance with hours-of-service rules and not requiring a driver to make a record of duty status.

Other problems included driver alcohol and drug data. Tristan had used a driver or drivers before receiving a negative pre-employment controlled substance test result. It also had failed to investigate a driver’s alcohol and controlled substances history for the previous three years.

The FMCSA also had noted problems during inspections preceding the compliance review.

During November and December inspections, agency officials reported non-English speaking drivers on four occasions and in one instance, the driver was unable to sufficiently understand English signs and signals. Numerous vehicle maintenance violations also were recorded during these inspections.

During a Sept. 28 inspection, the FMCSA found on-board recording device information requirements had not been met, an exhaust leak under the cab and an inoperable mandatory lamp.

There are currently 13 program participants in the three-year program, which is set to end in October. Although the FMCSA reported Dec. 16 it would admit Road Machinery to the program, the carrier is not yet listed as a participant.

As of Feb. 2, the agency continued the investigation it began in August of a possible HOS violation of Transportes Olympic. The FMCSA is pending decision on admitting two additional applicants, has dismissed 14 others and three more have withdrawn their applications.

Last month marked the 20th year that NAFTA has been in effect. The agreement between North American nations includes allowing each other’s trucks to make deliveries anywhere inside their respective countries.

The FMCSA began a trial cross-border program in 2007. Before Congress defunded the program in 2009, ten U.S. carriers were participating in Mexico’s reciprocal pilot project. In 2011, when President Obama announced plans to launch the current program, four of those U.S. carriers still operated in Mexico.

The FMCSA has not furnished more current data on how many U.S. carriers are participating in Mexico’s program. Most U.S. carriers providing services in Mexico do so through a partnership with a Mexican trucking company, according to a congressional report last month.