Pilot Program Not Consistent With NAFTA Requirements, Says OOIDA

Mar 11, 2008, 01:00 ET from Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

    GRAIN VALLEY, Mo., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- At a Senate hearing on
 Tuesday, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) was
 represented by legal counsel Paul Cullen Sr. who gave testimony showing the
 cross-border trucking pilot program with Mexico is not consistent with U.S.
 safety standards and not required by the North American Free Trade
 Agreement (NAFTA).
     "The U.S. DOT's pilot program is neither authorized nor required by any
 obligation of the United States under NAFTA," Cullen testified. "The
 Department has no right to issue operating authority to trucking companies
 unless they are 'willing and able' to obey all applicable U.S. laws and
     He went on to explain that by accepting compliance with Mexican laws
 and regulations covering commercial drivers licenses, drug testing and
 standards of medical qualifications in lieu of compliance with its own
 regulations, DOT has completely rewritten the conditions for entry into the
 U.S. market for trucking services.
     Cullen also applauded the move by Congress to defund the pilot program
 while admonishing DOT for ignoring the Congressional directive. "The
 efforts of the Bush Administration to thwart the clear intent of Congress
 by continuing the program is both shocking and lamentable."
     Cullen also commented on the secretary of transportation's threat that
 Mexico will retaliate if the U.S. withdraws from the pilot program. Cullen
 stated, "If DOT follows their legal responsibilities, there will be no
 basis for retaliation against U.S. imports by Mexico."
     The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the national
 trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking
 professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has
 more than 161,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is
 headquartered in the greater Kansas City, MO, area.

SOURCE Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association