Groups want court to rehear case against Mexican trucking program

mexicoUntitled-1-300x172The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association has asked a federal court to rehear its case against the U.S. cross-border pilot trucking program with Mexico.

On June 3, OOIDA and the Teamsters union separately petitioned the District of Columbia appeals court. On April 19, the circuit’s three-judge panel ruled in favor of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s program. The court had consolidated the association’s and the union’s litigation cases for that ruling.

Both petitioners argue that the recent decision conflicted with previous rulings. “…The panel has  converted appropriations riders intended to limit the circumstances under which FMCSA could conduct temporary pilot programs into a potentially permanent exemption for Mexican drivers from licensing requirements applicable to U.S. domiciled drivers,”  the association stated.

The Teamsters, who petitioned with the Sierra Club, also argue that previous decision undercut the National Environmental Policy Act. The agency insufficiently weighed environmental consequences before launching the program, according to the joint petition.

The union and OOIDA also requested the rehearing en banc, which would involve a nine-judge panel. Consideration en banc is used when the full court is deemed necessary for uniform decisions or in cases involves a question of exceptional importance.

In a separate case, the association presented oral argumentsMay 6 against the program regarding the agency’s the National Registry of Medical Examiners. FMCSA will begin requiring Interstate CDL holders to have physicals and a medical examiner’s certificate from a registry examiner next year.

FMCSA contends it could only apply the Registry requirement to Mexican and Canadian drivers if Congress clearly intends to abrogate previous agreements regarding truckers from the two nations. Congress has not indicated such plans, FMCSA says.