Under a bilateral agreement between the United States and Mexico, Mexican trucks that meet federal trucking safety standards have begun plying US roadways. However, many of these carriers are unsafe. Their trucks have failed inspections and have been cited for violations in this country. Unions and trade groups insist that, in spite of this fact, US federal regulators simply chose to look the other way.
The bilateral agreement, signed by Pres. Barack Obama and Mexican Pres. Felipe Calderon in March 2011, ensures that Mexican trucks which meet American safety and environment regulations can begin traveling on American roadways. However, records show that many Mexican trucks on American highways have been cited for a number of violations and some of these companies have been cited repeatedly.
In one particular case, a truck that that belongs to a Mexican company has been stopped 18 times between August 2012 and August 2013 for safety violations. These violations were linked to defective or missing parts, defective brakes, and all kinds of malfunctioning parts including a cracked frame, faulty signals, malfunctioning lights, leaking oil and grease and defective windshield wipers and tire tread separation.
These are the type of defects can easily increase the risk of a tire blowout involving a tractor-trailer which can result in a flip-over or jackknife. These are severely dangerous truck accidents that increase the risk of injury not just to the occupants of the tractor-trailer, but also to other motorists unfortunate enough to be sharing the highway with the truck.
One Mexican company has been inspected the most, cited for 44 violations in a single day. On July 31, 2013, the company was cited for a number of violations including tire tread separations, oil and grease leaks, brake compression violations and other defects. The company also had very poor driver fitness scores, which were lower than 99% of American drivers. Most of the driver fitness violations were related to drivers who were not fluent in English. Under the terms of the agreement, Mexican trucks are allowed to ply US highways must be operated by drivers who speak and read English at least well enough to understand American highway signals and signs. They must also be able to respond to inquiries by officials, and must be able to fill out forms and reports. Many drivers do not seem to meet these basic standards.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is waiting for the right kind of data to prove that Mexican carriers are safe enough to run on American roadways. In the meantime, motorists continue to remain at risk from accidents involving defective trucks and substandard operators.
The Indiana trucking accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent victims of truck accidents across Indiana.