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Independent truckers seek review of pilot program with Mexico

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. -- The lawsuit filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) challenging th...

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The lawsuit filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) challenging the cross-border program is moving forward – the only question is what court is going to hear the case.

In an order issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the request made by OOIDA for an emergency stay of the program was denied. The court also ruled favourably by acknowledging the association had indeed filed within the appropriate timeline of 10 days of the beginning of the program start.

“The decision does not reflect the merits of the case against the DOT,” said OOIDA president and CEO Jim Johnston. “The case will still be heard and we are preparing to move forward with that, plus the legislative actions we are taking in Washington DC.”

OOIDA has also responded with skepticism to claims by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that safety records of Mexican trucks are better than US counterparts.

“It’s the same spin we’ve come to expect,” stated executive vice-president of OOIDA Todd Spencer. “And, it’s proof positive the nation’s top truck safety office has had its safety agenda hijacked by global profiteers.”

According to the US Department of Transportation’s Inspector General (IG) report, when examining the border inspection practices of States where these trucks have allegedly been operating, they found few, if any violations. Upon closer examination they, not FMCSA, discovered that Texas and New Mexico had greatly under-reported the number of convictions.

Additionally, they found vehicle inspections are not reported at all in the 52nd State System (the database containing records of traffic violations Mexican commercial drivers commit in the US). For instance, New Mexico coded every Mexican violation incorrectly, so no records of convictions were recorded after July 2005. In Texas, they found there was a backlog of 40,000 Mexican driver related commercial convictions and had no idea how long the backlog had been going on.

“So, it appears the FMCSA did not notice there had not been any convictions from New Mexico and a great decline in Texas, but never looked to find out why,” bristled Spencer.

The 52nd State System does not include truck safety issues or certain motor carrier regulations such as violations relating to operating a vehicle without operating authority or drivers failing to provide shipping documents.

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