US and Mexico Agree to Trucking Deal

March 4, 2011

The United States and Mexican governments have announced an agreement in principal to end a 20 year ban on Mexican trucks entering the United States.  Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which went into effect in 1994, Mexican truckers were suppose to be permitted to transport goods into the United States.  However, since the enactment of NAFTA, Congress passed a series of laws to deny Mexican truckers the ability to drive into the United States.  As a result of these laws, NAFTA ruled that Mexico could impose punitive tariffs.  Despite NAFTA making this ruling in the late 1990s, the tariffs were not instituted until 2009.

Under the tentative deal reached by both countries, Mexican trucks will have to meet requirements equal to (and in some cases tougher than) those imposed on American truckers.  One of the more stringent requirements is that Mexican trucks must carry electronic recorders to ensure they only drive between the United States and Mexico and not domestically.  Additionally, the electronic records must track compliance with the United States’ hour of service laws.  Mexican truckers most also speak English and pass drug and safety tests.

It i s hoped that the Department of Transportation will have the proposed agreement available for public notice and comment by April.  Upon completing the comment period, the agreement would be formalized between the nations.  Under the agreement in principal, once the formal agreement is signed, half of the tariffs imposed on the United States will be suspended.  The remainder of the tariffs will be lifted when the first Mexican carrier complies with certification requirements.  It is estimated that $2.4 billion of United States goods would be subjected to the Mexican tariffs annually.

— Erik Anderson, Esq.

Reardon Anderson is a Tinton Falls, New Jersey based law firm which represents the interests of businesses, insurance companies and individuals throughout New Jersey and the metropolitan New York City area. Please visit our website at http://reardonanderson.com to learn more about our firm.

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US Government Proposes Cellphone Ban for Truck Drivers

December 19, 2010

On December 17, 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Association proposed a new regulation prohibiting interstate commercial truck and bus drivers from using hand held cell phones while operating a commercial motor vehicle. Under the proposed rule, a commercial driver found reaching for, dialing or holding a cell phone while driving will face a fine up to $2,750. Additionally, if a commercial driver is found to violate state law regarding hand held devices two times in a three year period they would be subject to a 60 day suspension of their Commercial Drivers License. If a commercial driver is found to violate state law regarding hand held devices three times in a three year period they would be subject to a 120 day suspension of their Commercial Drivers License. A motor carrier found to allow its drivers to utilize hand held devices would be subject to a fine up to $11,0000.

The Department of Transportation has noted that 5,000 people were killed and another 500,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2009. A study of distracted drivers indicates that an individual reaching for a phone while driving is three times more likely to be involved in an accident than an individual who is paying attention to the road. The study also found that individuals dialing their hand held phone while driver were six times more likely to be involved in an accident than an individual who is paying attention to the road.

There is a 60 day comment period on this proposed rule.

— Erik Anderson, Esq.

Reardon Anderson represents the interests of businesses, insurance companies and individuals throughout New Jersey and the metropolitan New York City area. Please visit our website at http://reardonanderson.com to learn more about our firm.