FMCSA Getting Prepared for Border Opening
May 24, 2001
Speaking at the National Private Truck Council’s annual conference in Nashville this week, DOT’s top trucking safety official, said the agency expects to complete its rulemaking on trucking safety issues for Mexican truckers to operate in the U.S.
when the U.S.-Mexican borders open under NAFTA agreements.
Julie Cirillo, acting deputy administrator of the Motor Carrier Safety Administration, told the 900 conference attendees that the rulemaking will spell out requirements Mexican truckers will have to comply with in order to operate in the U.S. These include: Requirements to get U.S. operating authority, proof of insurance coverage in the U.S., driver medical certificates and drug screening and a review of the carrier’s safety compliance records in Mexico.
Cirillo says the FMCSA has plans through MCSAP funding to add dozens of safety inspectors at border crossing points in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico so as to speed up the border crossing process, especially the vehicle and driver safety portions of it.
In other FMCSA matters, Cirillo said there has been a 130% increase in the number of violation fines since 1999 and that carriers who fail to pay fines will have their operating authorities rescinded. She said last year 62 motor carriers were put out of service for failure to pay on time.
As far as changes in the proposed drivers hours of service rule changes, Cirillo said that until the new FMCSA administrator is named and confirmed, the agency will continue to review comments from letters and hearings. Her best estimate for new rule making is mid 2002.
She said there are 40,000 new motor carrier operating authorities issued each year; that last year fatalities involving heavy trucks were down, and there was a significant increase in serious accidents.