OOIDA comments prompt second look at cross-border applicant

By Jami Jones, senior editor | 10/13/2011

In spite of having passed a Pre-Authority Safety Audit by the Federal Motor Carrier SafetyAdministration, the agency has decided to deny Grupo Behr access to the long-haul program in response to issues raised by OOIDA and two other groups.

FMCSA announced on Aug. 25 in the Federal Register that Mexico-domiciled motor carrier Grupo Behr had passed its Pre-Authority Safety Audit, or PASA, and requested comments from the public.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association was one of four groups that filed comments protesting the agency’s proposal to grant authority to Grupo Behr. Also protesting were Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Teamsters and Knight Transportation.

The agency released a preview copy of a Federal Register notice that will publish on Friday, Oct. 14, addressing those protests.

OOIDA’s protest noted that in researching Grupo Behr, the Association was unable to secure documentation from FMCSA that should have been part of the “comprehensive” information provided to the public, and in two other instances was denied access to information by agency employees.

The agency noted in its response to comments that a new website had been set up that will have information on current applicants and past participants.

Turning to other public records, OOIDA’s protest outlined research of the vehicle identification numbers from inspection reports contained on FMCSA’s CSA website and questioned whether Grupo Behr would be using a 1991 Class 8 Freightliner, which does not comply with the EPA requirement for vehicles of model year 1998 or later.

OOIDA also challenged the accuracy of Grupo Behr’s vehicle Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category, or BASIC, score and alleged that the event group – the group of carriers that Grupo Behr is compared against in CSA – “watered down” their scores. Overall, OOIDA concluded in its comments that Grupo Behr’s inspections indicate a lack of systemic maintenance.

Because of those challenges, along with some similar concerns raised by the Teamsters, Advocates and Knight, the agency announced it is conducting additional reviews of Grupo Behr’s inspections and vehicles. The company will not be granted long-haul authority until the review is completed and concerns are fully addressed in a Federal Register notice.

A second motor carrier, Transportes Olympic, was also protested. The lack of publicly accessible information because the company does not currently operate in the border zone and denial to records kept by FMCSA resulted in fewer points of protest.

As a result, the agency’s Federal Register notice countered protests from OOIDA and Advocates for Highway Safety and will proceed with granting the motor carrier authority to operate long-haul in the U.S.

Copyright © OOIDA