Federal transportation authorities have banned a Mexican trucking company from operating in the U.S. after finding the carrier had failed to abide by U.S. rules governing commercial transportation.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revoked the operating authority of Sergio Tristan Maldonaldo, doing business as Tristan Transfer, on Jan. 23 after giving it a conditional rating during a Dec. 20 compliance review and placing the company on a 30-day probationary period. The company, based in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, operates two trucks with five drivers.
At the end of the period, U.S. authorities found the carrier had failed to resolve its compliance problems. FMCSA authorities found more than a dozen safety management violations, including drivers that did not keep Hours-of-Service (HOS) records or record duty status.
Non-English speaking drivers were also noted on four separate occasions, including one driver who could not understand English signs and signals even minimally.
The carrier also failed to follow rules relating to testing drivers for drug and alcohol use. In one instance, the company hired a driver before it received pre-employment drug test results. In another, the carrier failed to investigate a drivers’ drug and alcohol history for the previous three years, as U.S. law requires.
Inspections also found the company failed to meet requirements for on-board recording devices, an exhaust leak, and inoperable lights.
Mexican commercial carriers are allowed to operate in the U.S. under a cross-border program as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but only after proving to federal regulators that they can operate in compliance with U.S. transportation safety rules and standards.
The program, renewed in three-year terms, is also subject to congressional funding. It was launched in 2007 but was abruptly defunded in 2009, prompting Mexican officials to impose heavy tariffs on a spectrum of American-made exports. The current program started in 2011 and is set to expire in October of this year.
The current cross-border program currently has 13 participants and the applications of two others are pending. The FMCSA is investigating another Mexican carrier, Transportes Olympic, for HOS violations and has revoked the operating authority of 14 others. Three carriers have withdrawn their applications from the program.