DOT Recommends More Border Inspectors

As the United States comes closer to opening its southern border to truck traffic in 2002, a Department of Transportation (DOT) inspector general report has recommended an increase in the number of federal safety inspectors and inspection facilities. During 2000, federal and state inspectors performed 46,144 inspections on Mexican trucks at the border. The out-of-service rate was 36%. That compares with 24% for US trucks, according to the report.

This report, prompted by a congressional request for information on existing conditions at the US-Mexico border, recommends 139 inspectors to enforce registration and safety requirements during all port operating hours.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration increased the number of inspectors at the southern border from 13 in 1998 to 60 in 2001. Eighty additional enforcement personnel have been requested. More inspectors and construction of inspection facilities are recommended to correct inconsistent inspection enforcement from state to state along the border, according to the inspector general's report.

At the same time, Mexico has made some progress in establishing safety requirements for motor carrier operations, says the report. Mexico has issued a rule requiring all commercial drivers to log hours of service, issued a standard for inspections of commercial vehicles, and automated its information systems for motor carriers, commercial drivers, and vehicles.

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