FMCSA Opens the Border to Mexican Carriers
During the time period of Oct. 2011 and Oct. 2014, the FMCSA conducted a cross-border pilot program with Mexico, which consisted of 952 Mexican-owned carriers. The data from the program gave the agency enough information to decide to allow all Mexican carriers to apply for U.S. operating authority. By opening the commercial border zone, the FMCSA will be bringing the U.S. into compliance with the requirements of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The initial reaction of this decision was negative due to the concerns over rates and the diminished opportunity. However, there are some that believe the might be overblown. Just like Canadian carriers, Mexico-based carriers will sill have to comply with U.S. trucking regulations and provide the same paperwork as anyone in the U.S. to adhere to U.S. highway laws. They will also have the same inspections on their trucks by the DOT.
Although the FMCSA only admitted 15 carriers in the program instead of their goal of 31-46, they did not have any concern with gathering data. The primary goal was to collect information on the inspections, not the number of participants.
The OIG reported that 80% of inspections conducted in the program were performed on two carriers, which accounted for 90% of the border crossings made in the program. Spokesperson for the FMCSA, Marissa Padilla, noted that 351 of the 952 carriers that studied in conjunction with the pilot program did receive their authority. This is part of the data used by the agency to make the decision, but was not studied by the OIG.
The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association says that the lack of participation by Mexican carriers in the pilot program indicates that Mexican carriers may not want to comply with U.S. safety regulations.
Jim Hoffa, Teamsters’ head, is upset that the FMCSA is proceeding with the cross-border expansion. Hoffa stated, “One thing was made clear in the OIG’s report – the pilot program was a failure. It did not provide enough data for the OIG to determine with any confidence that the trucks participating in the program were representative of those that could be permitted in the future. Nor could the OIG project safety performance of Mexico-domiciled carriers based on the data from the pilot program.”
The American Trucking Association says it does support the agency’s choice to open the border as long as they apply the same standards U.S carriers are held to. Whereas the Trucking Alliance says it doesn’t have a position on the expansion as long as Mexican carriers operate under the same guidelines as U.S. carriers.
No matter where you’re coming from or where you’re driving through, make sure you have your motor carrier authority. Having your trucking authority keeps you on the road and in commission. If you don’t have time to finish your application or need help filing it, Motor Carrier HQ is able to help you. Check our blog more often to keep updated on rules and regulations as well as tips for your drive.
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