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Pilot Project on NAFTA Trucking Provisions; Commercial Driver's License Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Mexico

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Pilot Project on NAFTA Trucking Provisions; Commercial Driver's License Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Mexico

Anne S. Ferro
Federal Register
October 12, 2011


[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 197 (Wednesday, October 12, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 63344-63346]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-26442]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No FMCSA-2011-0097]


Pilot Project on NAFTA Trucking Provisions; Commercial Driver's 
License Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Mexico

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: Since entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with 
Mexico on November 21, 1991, on the equivalency of a Mexican Licencia 
Federal de Conductor (LF) and a commercial driver's license (CDL) 
issued in the United States, the U.S. motor carrier safety regulations 
have recognized the LF as equivalent to a CDL. As the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) explained in its Federal Register 
notice of April 13, 2011 (the April Notice), proposing the requirements 
for the United States-Mexico cross border long-haul trucking pilot 
program, the Secretary of Transportation will accept only three areas 
of Mexican regulation as being equivalent to U.S. regulations. One of 
those areas is the reciprocal recognition of the LF and the CDL.
    In the Agency's July 8, 2011, Federal Register notice (the July 
Notice), however, FMCSA recognized concerns about the on-going 
acceptance of the existing CDL MOU and committed to site visits at 
Mexican driver training, testing, and licensing locations prior to 
beginning the pilot program to review Mexico's on-going compliance with 
the terms of the current MOU. The Agency agreed to post reports of 
these visits on the FMCSA pilot program Web site at http:/
www.fmcsa.dot.gov/intl-programs/trucking/Trucking-Program.aspx. The 
Agency also added copies of the 1991 MOU regarding CDL reciprocity to 
the docket for the pilot program.
    This notice is provided to summarize the results of the site visits 
and make interested parties aware that the report has been posted on 
the pilot program Web site and added to the docket for this pilot 
program.

ADDRESSES: You may search background documents or comments to the 
docket for this notice, identified by docket number FMCSA-2011-0097, by 
visiting the:
     eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
online instructions for reviewing documents and comments. 
Regulations.gov is available electronically 24 hours each day, 365 days 
a year; or
     DOT Docket Room: Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the 
DOT Headquarters Building at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, 
DC 20590 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
Privacy Act System of Records Notice for the DOT Federal Docket 
Management System published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 
(73 FR 3316), or you may visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-785.pdf.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marcelo Perez, FMCSA, North American 
Borders Division, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-
0001. Telephone (512) 916-5440 Ext. 228; e-mail marcelo.perez@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

[[Page 63345]]

Background

    In FMCSA's April Notice (76 FR 20807) proposing the requirements 
for the United States-Mexico cross border long-haul trucking pilot 
program, the Agency explained that the Secretary of Transportation will 
accept only three areas of Mexican regulations as being equivalent to 
U.S. regulations. One of these areas is the set of regulations 
governing the licensing requirements for the operation of commercial 
motor vehicles (CMVs). The United States' acceptance of a Mexican LF 
for CMV operations in the United States dates back to November 21, 
1991, when the Federal Highway Administrator, who oversaw CMVs at the 
time, determined that the Mexican LF is equivalent to a CDL issued by a 
State in the United States, revised the Federal motor carrier safety 
regulations to recognize the Mexican LF, and entered into an MOU with 
Mexico that memorialized the equivalency findings. In its April Notice, 
FMCSA explained that the Agency is in the process of updating this MOU.
    As part of this process, on February 17, 2011, representatives from 
FMCSA, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the American 
Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators visited a Mexican driver 
license facility, medical qualification facility, and test and 
inspection location. During these site visits, FMCSA and its partner 
organizations observed Mexico to have rigorous requirements for 
knowledge and skills testing that are similar to those in the United 
States. In addition, Mexico requires that all new commercial drivers 
undergo training prior to testing and requires additional retraining 
each time the license is renewed.
    In addition, in the Agency's July Notice (76 FR 40420), FMCSA 
recognized concerns about the on-going acceptance of the existing CDL 
MOU. It committed to additional site visits to Mexican driver training, 
testing, and licensing locations prior to beginning the pilot program 
to review Mexico's on-going compliance with the terms of the current 
MOU. The Agency agreed to post reports of these visits on the FMCSA 
pilot program Web site at http:/www.fmcsa.dot.gov/intl-programs/
trucking/Trucking-Program.aspx. The Agency also added the 1991 MOU 
regarding CDL reciprocity to the docket for the pilot program.

The MOU Testing Requirements

    The MOU requires that before obtaining an LF, a driver must pass a 
knowledge test. The areas covered in that test must be comparable to 
those in 49 CFR part 383. In addition, the test must have at least 80 
questions and a driver must have a minimum score of 80 percent to pass. 
The tests must be administered separately for each LF class. The MOU 
also requires that before obtaining an LF, a driver must pass a skills 
test that is comparable to that in 49 CFR part 383. The skills test 
must be given in a CMV that is representative of the LF class of 
license sought. Lastly, the skills test must be conducted in on-street 
or a combination of on/off street conditions.
    During the review process, FMCSA learned that until April 21, 2010, 
commercial driver's license testing was conducted by both the 
Government of Mexico's Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) 
and private Mexican training centers. Since April 21, 2010, however, a 
driver must take his/her test at a private training center rather than 
directly from SCT. As a result, while some Mexican drivers have LFs 
based on testing from SCT, others have LFs based on testing by private 
training centers.

SCT Testing

    FMCSA reviewed the database of questions SCT used in its tests and 
confirmed that it covered the required subject matter. FMCSA also 
confirmed the number of questions on the SCT test, that SCT imposed the 
required passing rate of 80 percent, that SCT conducted skills tests in 
representative vehicles, and that a portion of SCT skills test included 
a demonstration of skills on the highway. Therefore, FMCSA is confident 
that SCT-issued tests are in compliance with the CDL MOU.

Training Center Testing

    Per SCT, there are 204 SCT-certified training schools for first 
issuance LFs in Mexico. Similar to the United States, some of the 
certified training schools are public and others are training centers 
run by trucking companies. Representatives from FMCSA visited nine 
training centers in Mexico in Nuevo Laredo, Tuiltitlan, Veracruz, 
Guadaljara, Tijuana (two schools), Monterrey, Tlaxcala and Mexico City. 
FMCSA selected these cities based on the number of international LFs 
issued and renewed in these locations, the number of cargo drivers 
trained in the cities, the number of training centers they cover, the 
number of LFs from the cities that are verified in the United States 
via the Commercial Driver's License Information System check, and their 
general populations. Other factors considered in selecting specific 
locations included the number of main trade corridors linking each 
location, their geographical position, and proximity to the U.S. 
border. The Tlaxcala training center was selected to represent training 
centers outside of large urban areas in Mexico.
    Prior to the visits, FMCSA requested from SCT a list of drivers who 
were trained at the centers between July 2010 and June 2011. The 
drivers selected were first time LF applicants for an LF Class B 
international license. The list included close to 30,000 drivers. The 
review team randomly selected and reviewed driver files at each of the 
training centers and the SCT field offices to determine compliance with 
the requirements of the MOU. The review team visited each training 
center to document whether drivers trained and tested there had to pass 
a knowledge and skills test as prescribed in the MOU. The review team 
also visited the SCT Field Office corresponding to each of the training 
centers. The reviewers confirmed that drivers were licensed to operate 
the same class of vehicles on which they were trained.
    Based on its review of the nine schools, FMCSA determined that 
while the schools were close to full compliance with the terms of the 
MOU, there are improvements needed in the schools' testing to ensure 
consistent compliance. Specifically, FMCSA discovered two schools that 
had passing scores below the required 80 percent threshold; one school 
with 71 questions on its exam; and several schools that missed one or 
two of the required 20 subject matter areas. The report detailing the 
site visits is available at the Agency's Web site for the pilot program 
at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/intl-programs/trucking/Trucking-Program.aspx. In addition, the report has been added to the docket for 
the pilot program.
    FMCSA shared the results of the report with SCT. SCT has committed 
to sending out information to all of the testing centers, reminding 
them of the MOU requirements and to requiring corrective action from 
the testing centers visited. In addition, in six months, FMCSA will be 
revisiting the training centers reviewed in the report as well as 
additional sites to confirm compliance with the MOU.
    FMCSA does not believe that the findings described above compel any 
modifications to the pilot program's driver qualification standards 
established in the MOU. To implement the program in a manner that will 
ensure compliance with those standards and the safety of drivers 
seeking to participate in the pilot program, the

[[Page 63346]]

Agency will approve only those drivers who were tested by SCT. If a 
driver's original test was conducted by a private training center 
rather than by SCT, the driver will be required to be retested by SCT 
before he/she may be approved for the pilot program. SCT has agreed to 
conduct such testing for the pilot program participant drivers.

    Issued on: October 6, 2011.
Anne S. Ferro,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2011-26442 Filed 10-7-11; 11:15 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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