FMCSA Proposes Rules to Address Mexican Carriers

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed three separate rules to address the safe operation of Mexican trucks in the U.S. as well as requirements that they comply with U.S. safety regulations. According to a timetable outlined at a meeting with representatives from the Government of Mexico on March 22, the U.S. will permit authorized

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed three separate rules to address the safe operation of Mexican trucks in the U.S. as well as requirements that they comply with U.S. safety regulations.

According to a timetable outlined at a meeting with representatives from the Government of Mexico on March 22, the U.S. will permit authorized Mexican carriers to operate throughout the U.S. before the end of this year.

If adopted, the proposals posted to the Federal Register today would:

  • Establish an application form and process for Mexican carriers seeking US DOT authority to operate only in U.S. municipalities and commercial zones adjacent to Mexico in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
  • Establish an application form and process for Mexican carriers seeking US DOT authority to operate beyond municipalities and commercial zones at the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Establish a safety monitoring system and enforcement regime, the Safety Monitoring System and Compliance Initiative for Mexican Motor Carriers Operating in the U.S., to help determine whether Mexican carriers conducting business anywhere in the U.S. comply with applicable safety regulations and conduct safe operations.

The first two proposals would establish new application procedures for Mexican motor carriers seeking operating authority, require carriers to provide detailed information about their safety practices and require carriers to certify compliance with U.S. motor carrier safety regulations. All motor carriers seeking to do business in the U.S. must obtain operating authority and a US DOT number before they will be permitted to operate in the U.S.. Mexican carriers will be subject to the same safety standards that now apply to U.S. and Canadian carriers.

The third proposal would require, as a condition of registration, that all Mexican new-entrant carriers undergo at least one satisfactory safety audit within 18 months of receiving authority to operate in the U.S. The purpose of the safety audit would be to evaluate a Mexican carrier’s safety performance and basic safety management controls. It would accomplish this by reviewing information about the carrier, including records related to driver medical qualifications, driver hours of service, drug and alcohol testing, and vehicle inspection, maintenance and repair.

“President Bush has made a firm commitment to implement the NAFTA trucking provisions and his Administration has begun doing that,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said. “These rulemakings will help ensure that all Mexican trucks and drivers entering the U.S. will be subject to the same safety standards that apply to U.S. and Canadian carriers.”

FMCSA is also developing a proposal to establish a comparable safety-monitoring system for all new-entrant U.S. and Canadian-based carriers as required by the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.

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