Five months remain in the pilot cross-border trucking program with Mexico, which has continued to report few safety violations but low participation: Just 13 carriers have authority, compared to the nearly 50 FMCSA said it would need.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s program, through its third year, has the same number of participating carriers as the end of its second year (13). It finished its first year with nine participants.
The agency is now pending decision on two additional carriers.
A total of 17 companies have cleared the FMCSA’s Pre-Authority Screening Audits, conducted on applicants to verify program compliance. The agency also has dismissed a total of 15 applicants and five others have withdrawn applications since the program began.
Since the program began, few violations of operating authority and hours-of-service regulations have been reported.
FMCSA had estimated at least 46 carriers would be needed to participate to reach a target of 4,100 inspections and provide a statistically valid analysis of participants’ safety performance.
By May 4, agency officials had totaled 4,848 inspections, of which 4,023 had been conducted on the two carriers accumulating the highest number of border crossings. Servicio de Transportes y Local received 2,755 inspections and made 11,507 crossings. while GCC Transportes underwent 1,268 and chalked up 4,865 crossings.
Earlier this year, a congressional report noted having only two companies generating the majority of inspection data could shed doubt on whether it is a representative sample.
The U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General also has said low participation could result in a data sample inadequate to assess Mexican carriers’ impact on safety.
The inspector’s interim report was based on July 2012 program data. At that time, the program had four carrier participants and had received 30 applications from other carriers. The auditors stated it was unclear if increased participation would be sufficient to provide an appropriate sample, the report stated.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.