Photo: Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes de México

Photo: Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes de México

Effective March 16, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is accepting the Mexican government standard for annual commercial vehicle inspections of Mexico-domiciled motor carriers that operate in the United States.

In a notice posted in the Federal Register, FMCSA said it has determined that the specific Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM), which translates to “Official Mexican Standard," for the periodic inspection of commercial motor vehicles-- NOM-068-SCT-2-2014 (NOM 68)-- should be added to the list of programs that are “comparable to, or as effective as, the Federal PI requirements contained in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.”

The upshot of accepting NOM 68 means that Mexico-domiciled motor carriers operating in the U.S. “must ensure that their CMVs are inspected annually as required by the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT)” of Mexico.

Mexican carriers must retain a copy of the NOM 68 inspection report and a sticker/decal must be affixed to the inspected vehicle to satisfy U.S. annual inspection requirements.

The agency noted that these Mexican carriers “will no longer have the option of relying on their employees to conduct inspections of the CMVs the carrier controls, using commercial garages for such inspections, or passing a roadside inspection based on criteria published by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Alliance” to comply.

“FMCSA has reviewed Mexico's pass-fail criteria for the specific vehicle components and systems examined as during the mandatory vehicle inspection and determined that Mexico's inspection program is comparable to, or as effective as, FMCSA's requirements,” the agency said.

While the agency “acknowledged” that Mexico's compliance date for certain vehicle safety systems and components, such as antilock braking systems, differs from U.S. requirements, it stated that it “does not believe the differences in the compliance dates for such systems is a sufficient basis for considering Mexico's annual inspection standards to be substantively different.”

FMCSA also pointed out that Mexico's mandatory annual inspection requirements cover most of the types of CMVs subject to FMCSA's periodic inspection regulations, including “property-carrying vehicles with a gross weight, gross vehicle weight rating, or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more.

“Therefore,” the agency added, “both the inspection criteria for the vehicle components and safety systems, and the types of vehicles required to be inspected are comparable to FMCSA's requirements.”