OOIDA loses cross-border trucking appeal

April 23, 2013

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn.’s challenge to a federal pilot program allowing Mexican drivers to deliver goods across the border in the U.S. was rejected Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington which found the plan was consistent with Congress’ intent.

 “We think the more sensible conclusion is that Congress decided that Mexico-domiciled truckers with Mexican commercial drivers’ licenses could drive on U.S. roads,” U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote on behalf of a three-judge panel.

The court also dismissed claims by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters that medical standards for Mexican truck drivers aren’t adequate and that the pilot program is unlawful because not all Mexican vehicles are required to display a decal certifying they comply with U.S. safety standards.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had determined that the Mexican medical standards “would provide a level of safety at least equivalent to the American standards taken as a whole,” Kavanaugh wrote.

The requirement to display the safety sticker applies to items imported into the U.S., not the trucks carrying them, according to the opinion.

“This whole program is a slap in the face to U.S. drivers that go to great lengths to comply with an ever-tightening regulatory noose,” Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. “If safety were truly a priority, standards would be held high on both sides of the border.”

Norita Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Grain Valley, Missouri-based group, told Bloomberg a decision about whether to appeal hadn’t been made.

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Deborah Whistler

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