Below is a news release that I've been hearing rumors on for some time. Mexican trucks being allowed into the United States.
My prediction: More job loss and more accidents involving trucks. Including New Hampshire.
I won't recite the entire press release but to say that the standards for both equipment and drivers is substantially below what it is in the United States. This fact alone will lead to more accidents. The Mexican border may seem like a long way from New Hampshire but if Mexican truck drivers are willing to work for .18-.20 cents a mile versus U.S. drivers that run from .28 to .42 cents a mile how long do you think it will take them to arrive into the destination markets of the Northeast, including New Hampshire.
I think this will only be exaerbated by regulations like CSA 2010 which places yet more restriction(s) on U.S. trucking companies and their drivers; freight rates that continue to be low and the ever present price of diesel fuel.
I wonder where the NH Congressional Delegation is on this issue?
Truckers' association goes on federal record opposing Mexico cross-border program
(Grain Valley, Mo., May 19, 2011) – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) posted official comments challenging the proposed Mexican cross-border pilot program introduced by the administration in April of this year.
The Association has adamantly opposed opening the border in the past and continues to do so because Mexico does not have equivalent regulatory trucking standards and because there would be no corresponding reciprocity for U.S. truckers.
“U.S. truckers must contend with ever-increasing safety, homeland security and environmental regulations that dramatically affect their costs of operations as well as their ability to make a living at their chosen profession,” said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA. “Mexico does not have an even remotely equivalent regulatory regime for its trucking industry and should not be given de facto exemptions.”
OOIDA’s comments challenge the position by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that special treatment for Mexico is required in order to comply with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). OOIDA contends that the U.S. is only obligated to provide “national treatment” under NAFTA – that is, treatment exactly like what is offered to U.S.-based motor carriers.
“The United States has undertaken no obligation under NAFTA to provide exemptions or waivers from the application of U.S. trucking laws or regulations to Mexico-domiciled motor carriers except insofar as such exemptions or waivers may also be available to U.S.-domiciled motor carriers,” state the comments filed by OOIDA.
FMCSA’s proposed acceptance of certain Mexican regulations in place of complying with U.S. regs doesn’t sit well with OOIDA. The Association points out that the only way the DOT can excuse compliance is to grant a waiver – something that is not required under NAFTA.
The DOT’s cross-border plan states that the Mexican LF (CDL), Mexican driver medical qualification standards, and Mexican drug testing procedures will be accepted in place of compliance with U.S. standards.
U.S. motor carriers must go through a lengthy process to receive exemptions from regulations. None of that occurred in the DOT’s decision to accept Mexican CDL, medical certification, and drug testing as compliance with U.S. regs, according to OOIDA comments.
“FMCSA has no authority to depart from the mandate of Section 13902(a) requiring that all motor carriers demonstrate that they are willing and able to comply with U.S. laws and regulations,” the comments state, pointing back to a court decision where the U.S. Supreme Court outlined the DOT’s statutory obligations to the regulations under NAFTA.”
The comments also reminded the DOT of a 2001 NAFTA Tribunal decision that ultimately ruled against the U.S. for refusing to consider authority applications from Mexican motor carriers, but did not matter-of-factly state that the border must be opened.
“It is important to note what the panel is not determining,” the tribunal decision stated. “It is not making a determination that the parties to NAFTA may not set the level of protection that they consider appropriate in pursuit of legitimate regulatory objectives.
“It is not disagreeing that the safety of trucking services is a legitimate regulatory objective. Nor is the panel imposing a limitation on the application of safety standards properly established and applied pursuant to application obligations of the parties under NAFTA.”
That decision, OOIDA contends, allows the DOT latitude in implementing additional procedures, as long as it is done in good faith.
Loud proponents of opening the border have mainly consisted of entities affected by retaliatory tariffs imposed by Mexico two years ago. Mexico imposed the tariffs because Congress had shut down a previous cross-border program. OOIDA contends the legality of the original tariffs should have been challenged.
Spencer noted, “Succumbing to Mexico’s bullying provides a handy attack plan for them and other governments in future trade disputes. This program should not go forward unless and until Mexico raises the safety, security and environmental standards for their trucking industry. We should not allow ourselves to be harassed or blackmailed into lowering ours.”
On FMCSA’s position that U.S. truckers would have valuable rights of reciprocal access to the Mexican market, the Association knows that most truckers refuse to haul loads into Mexico because of safety concerns.
“U.S. truckers are simply not interested in driving their equipment into a country with such widespread drug-related violence,” said Spencer. “The Department of State issues warnings against doing so on a regular basis.”