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OOIDA enters legal battle with DOT over proposal to open border to Mexican carriers

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. -- Safety and security concerns raised by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association have...

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — Safety and security concerns raised by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association have evolved into full litigation in a fight against the US Department of Transportation. Along with a group of five other organizations, OOIDA contends the DOT has violated federal laws regarding public notice and comment required before opening the border to Mexico-based trucking companies.

“We have strongly opposed this program since first introduced, and in particular, the secretive nature in which it has been presented by the DOT,” says Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice-president.

OOIDA joined the Teamsters, Public Citizen, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Law Foundation and Teamsters Local No. 70 in Oakland, Calif. in filing a lawsuit late Monday in California asking the DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to provide details to the public, and allow the opportunity for debate. So far, transportation secretary Mary Peters has issued press releases announcing the program going forward and updates on the number of carriers inspected. However, no other relevant details have been provided, OOIDA reps have reported. (D)espite objections raised in Congress, the Bush administration has insisted on pushing the program through without addressing how issues such as safety and security will be handled, OOIDA officials say.

“The DOT has still not answered questions about verification of drivers’ records, drug and alcohol testing, Hours-of-Service, cabotage, inspections and insurance, Spencer added. They make general statements about audits of Mexican motor carriers, but have shown nothing that should make the American public feel confident that they have fulfilled all the obligations necessary before moving forward.”

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