— Jill Dunn
A TRUCKER pled guilty to seven counts of arson at truck stops in six states, a crime authorities say he usually committed on occupied parked trucks. Steven Oakley Price, 41, of Licking, Mo., pleaded guilty Dec. 1 in the U. S. District Court for Missouri’s western district. If the court accepts Price’s plea agreement, he will serve an eight-year federal prison term without parole. Price inserted fuel-soaked clothing, rags or fuel filters into the wheel wells of tractor-trailers. No serious injuries occurred, according to the district’s U.S. attorney.
Third Mexican carrier completes audit
While members of Congress and a federal court continue weighing issues concerning the cross-border trucking program with Mexico, a third Mexican carrier has completed its Pre-Authority Screening Audit.
A Nov. 29 Federal Register notice announced Moises Alvarez Perez, doing business as Distribuidora Marina El Pescador, of Tijuana, Baja California, completed its pre-authority screening audit.
So far, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has granted operating authority to one of three Mexico-based carriers that cleared the PASA. FMCSA conducts these audits on Mexican carrier applicants to verify program compliance.
Transportes Olympic of Apodaca, Nuevo León, made the first crossing under the program on Oct. 21.
FMCSA’s Federal Register Oct. 14 notice responded to public comment on the PASA of Grupo Behr of Apodaca, Nuevo León. The agency had planned to grant authority, but instead announced it would extend review of the carrier to investigate questions raised by groups commenting on its PASA results.
On Oct. 31, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, (D-W.Va.), transportation committee chairman, expressed concern about “lax oversight” of the program in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued the same briefing schedule for two lawsuits seeking to block the FMCSA program, but has not combined the cases. The Teamsters union, Public Citizen and Sierra Club petitioned the court Nov. 15 and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed suit July 6.
The petitioners’ briefs and appendices were due Dec. 21, the FMCSA’s brief on Feb. 1 and the petitioners’ reply brief Feb. 22.
— Jill Dunn