U.S. to track Mexican trucks with GPS technology

WASHINGTON — Mexican trucks crossing into the U.S. as part of a controversial pilot project will monitored by GPS satellite technology beginning this month.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the plan to track the trucks as they pick up and deliver their loads.

The decision to require the installation of satellite tracking — to be provided by Qualcomm — was made after members of Congress expressed a desire to know whether Mexican participants in the demonstration program are complying with U.S. federal safety and trade laws.

FMCSA says it will initially spend approximately $367,000 to outfit all trucks from the U.S. and Mexico that take part in the program, and use the information gathered from the equipment to ensure trucks comply with hours-of-service laws and rules that govern the trips into and out of the country. The GPS-based technology also will allow real-time tracking of truck location, documenting every international-border and state-line crossing.

The agency adds that the systems will be used to track trucks by vehicle number and company only; no driver information will be collected.

Despite bitter opposition from owner-op groups and unions, the FMCSA and Mexican authorities successfully launched this September the start of the year-long cross border project, which allows U.S. trucking companies to operate in Mexico for the first time and about 100 Mexican carriers to haul freight beyond the 20-mile commercial border zone.

However, there’s no guarantee that the pilot will complete its first year. Another round of legislation that would cut off federal funds for the project is expected to be voted on by Congress in the coming weeks.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.