WASHINGTON, D.C. — While the numbers are positive, an independent panel evaluating the controversial cross-border trucking demonstration program says there were not enough participants for a meaningful comparison.
While there were no crashes involving Mexican carriers in the project and out of service rates were low, the panel — reports truckinginfo.com — found the level of participation fell far short of what the DOT had projected, and that most of the demonstration trucks operated only within the border zone.
Only 29 carriers, not the 100 that FMCSA projected, were granted long-haul operating authority during the 12 months to travel beyond the border commercial zone. Two of the carriers dropped out of the project, two of the remaining carriers never even crossed into the U.S., meaning only 25 Mexican carriers actually participated, operating about 100 trucks total.
The number of carriers participating "was too small for making statistical projections … [about] the carriers who … are likely to seek such long-haul operating authority in the future," the panel said. "To accurately assess the safety performance of carriers in the demonstration project, FMCSA would need a larger sample of Mexican carriers."
While more than 12,000 truck crossings were made into the U.S. by the participants during the 12-month period, less than 15 percent went beyond the border commercial zones.
During the project, more than 7,000 safety inspections were conducted on the participating drivers and more than 1,400 on the participating trucks, in addition to the every-truck-every-time checks done at the border-crossing facilities.
Less than 1 percent of the driver inspections resulted in out of service violations, which is lower than the rates of U.S.-domiciled carriers. The vehicle out-of-service rate of 8.7 percent was less than half the rate for all U.S. domiciled carriers.