Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Teamsters Take Action To Protect Highway Safety, Stop Mexican Trucks
The Teamsters Union filed a legal challenge to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) recent decision to open the border to Mexican trucks. The union was joined by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Truck Safety Coalition.
The lawsuit, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, contends that the DOT’s final report to Congress violated the Administrative Procedures Act because its conclusion—that Mexico-domiciled carriers operate at a level of safety equal to or greater than U.S. and Canadian carriers—is arbitrary and capricious in light of the admitted lack of significant data from a pilot program Congress required DOT to conduct.
The DOT announced in January that it would move forward with opening the border to trucks domiciled in Mexico later this year despite the DOT Inspector General (IG) issuing a report which acknowledged that it had been unable to develop statistically significant data in the pilot program. Due to the lack of significant data, the IG could not have determined with any degree of confidence the future safety performance of Mexico-domiciled carriers.
“It is disappointing that the DOT has chosen to ignore the findings of the Inspector General and is moving forward with opening the border to Mexican trucks. The Teamsters Union will continue to fight for highway safety; the safety of our roads cannot be compromised based on this failed program,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President.
In a letter to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman last week, Hoffa called on the administration to protect highway safety and reopen negotiations over Mexican cross-border trucking as part of the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.
Only 13 carriers participated in the Mexico Cross-Border Trucking Pilot Program, which expired in October. The pilot program failed to test the safety of long-haul operations originating in Mexico and traveling throughout the United States beyond the commercial zones where Mexican trucks are already permitted to travel. Most of the data was obtained from within those commercial zones.