Monday, June 3, 2013

Teamsters again bring court challenge to Mexican truck pilot program

The Teamsters today continued the battle against dangerous Mexican trucks, asking for a rehearing on the decision to keep the border open.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the U.S. Department of Transportation's cross-border trucking pilot program in April.

Last month, the Teamsters complained to DOT that the pilot program included two Mexican trucking companies with dismal safety records. Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said,
We’ve said all along that our concern about this program was ensuring that Mexican trucks and drivers meet our U.S. safety standards, and it’s clear that FMCSA has not been exercising the proper oversight to accomplish this goal. It’s wrong and inexcusable to endanger the traveling public in this way.
According to today's press statement,
The Teamsters’ petition argues a rehearing is necessary “because the panel’s dismissal of Petitioners’ claims … conflicts with decisions of this Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.” 
The court found that Mexico-domiciled trucks don't have to comply with federal safety requirements for vehicles introduced into interstate commerce. The Teamsters believe that conclusion is not only wrong, but contradicts a previous D.C. Circuit opinion about safety regulations for tires, the National Association of Motor Bus Owners v. Brinegar. 
“Our members who drive for a living should not have to put their lives at risk because dangerous trucks are allowed free use of our roads,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Nothing in the court’s decision says Mexican trucks will be safe.” 
The Teamsters were joined by the Sierra Club in the petition for rehearing. The two groups are challenging the court’s ruling on environmental grounds because it undercuts the National Environmental Policy Act. They say the ruling violates the precedent that federal agencies must consider the environmental consequences of their actions before making decisions.