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Mexico carrier with 'questionable pedigree' in safety passes PASA

The owner of the company that passed PASA has been operating a carrier with Driver Fitness and Vehicle Maintenance issues based on CSA scores.

By LYNDON FINNEY
The Trucker Staff

6/26/2013

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking comments on the application of what could become the 13th Mexico-domiciled carrier to be granted authority to participate in the U.S.-Mexico long-haul pilot program, but the owner of the company has a questionable pedigree when it comes to vehicle maintenance.

The FMCSA announced in a Federal Register notice that Sergio Tristan Maldonado doing business as Tristan Transfer had passed the agency’s Pre-Authorization Safety Audit (PASA) and that it would be accepting comments until July 8 on the carrier’s application.

Meanwhile, the FMCSA has granted authority to the 11th carrier operating within the pilot — Servicio de Transportante Internacional y Local Sa de CV.

Based in Juarez, Colima, Mexico, the carrier had 20 trucks and 13 drivers approved during the PASA process.

Yet another carrier, RAM Trucking SA de CV, has passed the PASA, but has yet to be granted authority.

Tristan Transfer, based in Nuevo Laredo, TA, Mexico, is owned by Sergio Tristan Maldonado.

There is no record of the carrier in the FMCSA database, which normally means that the carrier’s application to participate in the pilot program coincides with its application for a DOT number.

During the PASA process, the agency said it uncovered the fact that Sergio Tristan Maldonado had an affiliation not identified in the original application.

The FMCSA asked for and received a letter from Maldonado explaining a relationship with another carrier, Maria Higinia Tristan Maldonado doing business as Trujillo’s Transfer, owned by Maldonado’s sister Maria Higinia Tristan Maldonado.

The agency said the sister currently employs Maldanado as a manager and that he operates the vehicle and employs the two drivers Tristan Transfer plans to use in the pilot program.

The agency said it did not believe that Sergio Tristan Maldonado was trying to evade

FMCSA regulation in continuing motor carrier operations, or fail to disclose the affiliation for the purpose of avoiding or hiding previous non-compliance or safety problems.

The agency said Tristan Transfer wanted to use three tractors in the pilot program, but two were deemed ineligible for the project because they could not meet required EPA emissions standards.

The FMCSA pointed out in the Federal Register notice that Trujillo’s Transfer has Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores that exceed the Behavioral Analysis and

Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) thresholds in two areas: Driver Fitness (99.4 percent) and Vehicle Maintenance (99.6 percent).

Furthermore, FMCSA reviewed a relationship that Maria Higinia Tristan Maldonado’s Trujillos Transfer has with a Mexico-domiciled motor carrier, Maria Dolores Rosas Velazquez doing business as Transportes Cel because Trujillos Transfer vehicles (including the vehicle Tristan Transfer plans to use in the Pilot Program) were used by Transportes Cel in the past.

According to a statement provided by the pilot program applicant Sergio Tristan Maldonado, Transportes Cel operated these vehicles for a period of time under an agreement made between Trujillos Transfer and Transportes Cel.

Sergio Tristan Maldonado has no affiliation with Transportes Cel, the FMCSA said.

Transportes Gel also had two CSA scores above the intervention threshold — 99.7 percent in Driver Fitness and 100 percent in Vehicle Maintenance.

One of the tractors that Tristan Transfer wanted to use in the pilot program — but which was disallowed because of emissions regulations — has been involved in inspections18 times during the past two years, has accrued 155 violations during those inspections and has been put out of service eight times.

Eight of those inspections, 58 violations and three out-of-service orders have been accrued since Maldonado operated the tractor for Trujillos Transfer.

FMCSA data does not show whether the violations were against the tractor or the trailer.

The tractor approved for use by Tristan Transfer, a 2011 Sterling, has been in use since at least October 2011, when it was involved in an inspection that ended with 13 violations and was put out of service while being operated by Transportes Cel.

A source told The Trucker that most of the violations were likely against the trailer since the tractor was relatively new.

All told, the Sterling tractor has been involved in nine inspections that netted 65 violations and three out-of-service orders.

Two of the inspections and 14 of the violations occurred while the tractor was being operated by Trujillos Transfer.

Interestingly, the tractor was involved in an inspection Jan. 30, 2013, while being operated under the Trujillos Transfer name and was involved in an inspection Feb. 28, 2013, under the Transportes Cel name.

The source told The Trucker that could have occurred under a trip lease arrangement between the two carriers.

The agency said in the Federal Register notice it would be monitoring the safety of the affiliated carrier through SMS and will take action directly on the carriers, if appropriate.

Anyone wishing to submit comments need to identify those comments by Federal Docket Management System Number FMCSA-2011-0097. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

• Fax: 1- 202-493-2251.

• Mail: Docket Management Facility, (M–30), U.S. Department of Transportation

 (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Room 12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

• Hand Delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET,

Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202–366–9329.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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