The Department of Transportation was on the verge of launching a one-year pilot project, which would have granted 100 handpicked Mexican carriers, with about 1,000 trucks, free access to the U.S. market.
The plan, however, while supported by the American Trucking Associations, ran into stiff opposition from groups like the owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Teamsters Union, and special interest group Public Citizen, who were able to convince enough U.S. politicians to put the brakes on the project.
The bill now requires the Transportation Department's inspector general to make sure the DOT is able to impose U.S. safety rules and conditions on Mexican trucks that travel beyond the commercial zone. The IG must also report to Congress whether he thinks "the pilot program is hurting highway safety" and whether safety laws are being enforced.
The DOT, which previously said that Mexican trucks would simply have to comply with the same commercial trucking laws American and cross-border Canadian carriers do, now must provide the public with details of exactly how it will make sure the pilot program is safe and that all drivers are able to speak English, as required by law.
Specifically, the public would also get a look at information on the pre-authorization safety audits conducted on the Mexican carriers picked for U.S. operations.
Officials must also reveal how they will ensure Mexican truck drivers respect cabatoge rules and not pick up and drop off freight, point-to-point in the U.S.
By Today's Trucking