Appeals court upholds Mexican truckers' ability to operate in US

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On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied an appeal from the Teamsters union and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) seeking to prevent the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from allowing Mexican truckers from working in the United States.

The agency, which regulates the trucking industry and is a division of the Department of Transportation, initiated the pilot program in 2011, under a condition of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The pilot program allows long-haul truckers to operate on both sides of the border for up to three years.

The trucking groups provided 13 distinct arguments against the program. "We find none to be persuasive," wrote Judge Brett Kavanaugh, one of the three judges on the panel, in the court's decision

"The D.C. Circuit Court’s decision upholds the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s cross-border pilot program, finding that we apply the same rigorous safety standards under the program that we require of all U.S. carriers," said Duane DeBruyne, an administration spokesman, in a statement.

"We remain committed to the success of the pilot program and will continue to work with everyone involved to ensure it is carried out safely," he added.

Norita Taylor, an OOIDA spokeswoman, said in a statement that the court gave the government "authority to accept less than full compliance with U.S. safety laws by Mexican truckers."

"We provided careful, detailed arguments describing how Mexican laws do not meet U.S. safety standards and how the pilot program permits Mexican truckers not to comply with U.S. laws," she continued. "It is disappointing that the Court’s opinion does not describe how it analyzed those issues."