USDOT releases details of Cross Border Trucking Plan and OOIDA’s Todd Spencer is “furious”

Late Model Mexican Kenworth T-660
Safe, well maintained trucks from Mexico such as this Kenworth T-660 driven by professional safe Mexican drivers would finally be permitted access under the proposed Pilot Program released today by the US DOT

The US DOT and the Obama Administration this afternoon released it plan to finally bring the United States into compliance with it’s obligations and promises made in regards to allowing Mexican trucking companies equal access to the United States.

The DOT said the proposed new program prioritizes safety, while satisfying the U.S. States’ international obligations.

According to THE TRUCKER and other highly reliable industry sources, the proposed program parameters are that;

• The scheduled life of the pilot program will not exceed three years.

• The Mexico-domiciled motor carriers that participate in this pilot program would proceed through a series of stages prior to issuance of a permanent operating authority.

• A Mexico-domiciled motor carrier that participated in the 2007-2009 demonstration project and operated under provisional operating authority in that pilot would receive credit for the amount of time it operated under authority in calculating the 18-month provisional operating authority period.

• Mexico-domiciled motor carriers participating in the pilot program would designate the vehicles and drivers they wish to use in the pilot program. All designated vehicles and drivers must be approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration prior to the participating motor carrier using the vehicles or drivers for transportation beyond the commercial zones along the United States-Mexico border. The requirements for FMCSA approval of drivers and vehicles are described in this notice.

• In compliance with section 350 (a)(3), FMCSA will ensure that at least 50 percent of participating drivers’ licenses are checked when crossing the border. This may be accomplished during Level I, II or III inspections.

• FMCSA would submit information on the applicant motor carriers and their drivers designated for long-haul operations in the pilot program to the Department of Homeland Security for security screening. Motor carriers and/or drivers that fail DHS’s security screening would not be eligible for participation in the pilot program.

• The FMCSA would equip each vehicle approved for use by Mexico-domiciled motor carriers in this pilot program with an electronic monitoring device such as a global positioning system and/or electronic on board recording device. As part of participating in this pilot program, the device must be operational on the vehicle throughout the duration of the pilot program.

• A driver may not participate in this pilot program unless the driver can read and speak the English language sufficiently to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records required by FMCSA.

Sounds reasonable to me as it satisfies the arbitration panels decision that the United States can set standards to be followed for Mexican trucks while they are in the United States, and although the requirements listed technically keep the US in violation of NAFTA, since the same is not required of US and Canadian trucks, other considerations int he proposal should overcome this technical point.


It didn’t take the usual crowd of opponents to chime in and chime in they did. First out of the gate was Todd Spencer of OOIDA who sent out a press release to the nation.

“This is the wrong plan at the wrong time for numerous reasons,” said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA. “It’s irresponsible and reckless. The Administration must reconsider or Congress must step in again to force them to do the right thing.”

The wrong plan at the wrong time? After nearly 20 years of OOIDA and their cronies in Congress throwing up roadblocks that the Mexicans have met, complied and excelled at overcoming, when will be “the right time”?
I can answer that in a few words. NEVER! as long as it involve Mexicans and Mexican trucks.

Spencer goes on to spread the lies he has been telling for so long, it is entirely conceivable he believes himself.

“The onus is on Mexico to raise the safety, security and environmental standards for their trucking industry,” added Spencer. “We should not allow ourselves to be harassed or blackmailed into lowering ours.”

Actually, he is wrong or it is wishful thinking on his part. Nothing in NAFTA, nor the arbitration panels decision says Mexico has to do anything to their regulatory standards. Be they safety, security or environmentally related. The onus on Mexico is to be able and willing to comply with United States regulations and laws when operating within the boundaries of the United States. Nothing more, nothing less. The same as we require the Canadians who regularly break our cabotage laws and HOS rules, since HOS regs in Canada are much more liberal than ours.

Spencer went on to reinforce his claims by saying that Mexico does not have an even remotely equivalent regulatory regime for its trucking industry and drivers. Perhaps Mexico doesn’t have the regulatory regime that the United States has that seeks to micro manage every second of a drivers life and time behind the wheel, but what it does have seems to work. Practically daily, you see or hear on the news about big truck wrecks, some with fatalities. In Mexico, maybe once a month at best, and FMCSA statistics bear this out.

But if that wasn’t enough, in his presser, Spencer goes on to use his ultimate weapon. Fear and scaring the hell out of anyone who reads his presser without bothering to stop and think about what is being said.

They need to stop placating Mexico’s government and start fighting for the Americans they are supposed to represent,” said Spencer. “If they follow through with this, the Administration will be jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of Americans.”

Perhaps you Spencer, and your organization should stop worrying about a few well qualified companies and their drivers, bringing their own freight up here and backhauling their customers freight to Mexico and concern yourself with things that can really effect the American trucker, such as the ridiculous hours of service proposal, EOBR’s, Speed Limiters, forced sleep apnea studies, Certified Medical Examiners and the oter crap Wshington is trying to push down our throats.


More than 1400 trade organizations have been pressing the administration to resolve the issue and it appears their voices were heard loud and clear.

American Trucking Association’s President Bill Graves issued the following statement:

“The American Trucking Associations welcomes the progress that the United States and Mexico are making to resolve their ongoing dispute over cross-border trucking. This proposal requires Mexican carriers to follow all the same rules and regulations that their American counterparts are subject to and takes steps to monitor Mexican trucks to ensure that those rules are being followed.

This announcement is good news for the U.S. businesses that have been hurt by Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs, including the trucking industry, and we look forward to the U.S. finally living up to its commitments under the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

To read the proposal for yourself and make up your own mind and not be persuaded by those such as the OOIDA or TEAMSTERS who will continue to spin the facts to suit their agenda, you can follow THIS LINK to read the entire proposal