Carrier Axed from NAFTA Pilot Program

Trucking Carrier Axed

When Mexican carrier Tristan Transfer applied for admission to the NAFTA Cross Border Pilot Program last June, some trucking industry watchers questioned the carrier's safety record; but to no avail. Despite issues raised about driver fitness and vehicle maintenance (among others), the carrier's owner passed a Pre-Authorization Safety Audit (PASA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted it authority to participate in the NAFTA program. (For the whole story, read the 2013 article on TheTrucker.com.)

That decision has come back to bite FMCSA. TheTrucker.com recently reported that FMCSA has "quietly revoked" Tristan Transfer's NAFTA operating authority after the carrier received a "conditional" rating during its December 2013 compliance review. No wonder the FMCSA is trying to keep things quiet. Less than six months after the Mexican carrier's safety record was questioned by U.S. truckers, FMCSA chops it from the program for safety issues.

While FMCSA's list of deficiencies was extensive, of greatest concern to U.S. truckers sharing the road with this carrier's drivers were violations of Hours of Service regulations, failure to keep truck inspection and maintenance records, using a driver who hadn't passed a drug and alcohol test and numerous other irregularities in alcohol and drug education and testing.

When the Cross Border Pilot Program was proposed, it was extremely unpopular with U.S. truckers. In comments on our Trucker to Trucker blog, American truckers expressed concern about loss of business and were worried that Mexican competitors would not be required to meet the same exacting maintenance and safety standards required of American truckers. It was feared that a double standard would not only give foreign truckers an unfair business advantage but, more importantly, would allow poorly trained drivers and poorly maintained trucks on American highways, creating a hazard for both truckers and American citizens. Given the Tristan Transfer fiasco, it appears that we had good reason to worry.

Tristan Transfer is just one of 14 carriers enrolled in the NAFTA program and may be the bad apple in the barrel; but we'd like to hear from you. Should the pilot program be continued?

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