In a recent court decision, the United States Court of Appeals decided to leave the Mexico Cross Border Pilot program in place, which could have major implications for the trucking industry in the coming months.
The program, which has permitted Mexico-based transportation companies to operate within the U.S. as long as they comply with American safety regulations and laws, has been controversial within the industry. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed suit to have the program stopped, but their attempt was blocked by the court.
Legal case shot down by court
OOIDA based its argument on a variety of points. The organization claimed the initiative allowed Mexico-based operators to illegally use their commercial licenses, said Mexican drivers would not be subject to American driver drug tests and argued national safety regulations may not be upheld sufficiently. The Brotherhood of Teamsters insisted the lives of American drivers could be put at stake as a result of the program. The Teamsters pointed out that in the U.S., commercial drivers are required to recognize the colors red, yellow and green in order to be deemed fit to use the roads. This requirement does not exist in Mexico, which could potentially allow a driver from Mexico to access American roads and fail to comply with safety laws, signs and traffic lights.
The group expressed disappointment with the ruling and said it was consulting its legal staff about new options.
How will American drivers be impacted if the pilot program is phased out?
As a result of the court's decision, the current pilot program will remain in place for now. When the test period ends, there is no indication as to whether it will be renewed or become a permanent measure.
If the program is never implemented as law, this could mean American companies will need to pick up some of the extra shipping Mexican companies are no longer able to do. As a result, transportation companies, especially those near the U.S.-Mexico border, may see a spike in requests for service, from which they could benefit. However, without using route optimization software to help them schedule pickups and deliveries and enhance productivity as they gain additional business, they could struggle if the program is never made permanent.