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Legislative Initiatives

NAFTA Regulations

The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, is in the forefront of many political discussions these days. NAFTA was signed in the early 1990’s and allows for free trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States. A big component of NAFTA is the allowance of trucking companies owned and operated in Mexico being allowed in to operate in the United States. Below are the regulations about international trucking.

North American Free Trade Agreement – U.S. Department of Transportation Regulations

  • Regulations issued today explain how Mexican-domiciled carriers may apply for operating authority beyond the U.S.-Mexico border commercial zones. The rules include requirements that meet the terms of the Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002.
  • Mexican-domiciled carriers and U.S. and Canadian carriers are governed by the same safety standards when operating in the U.S.
  • Mexican-domiciled carriers applying to operate to and from the United States are required to have a distinctive USDOT number, undergo safety monitoring initially and during an 18-month provisional period.
  • During operations under provisional operating authority, and for 36 months after receiving permanent authority, Mexican vehicles operating beyond the border commercial zones into the U.S. must display a valid Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection decal.
  • The regulations require all Mexican-domiciled carriers entering the United States to have a drug and alcohol-testing program, a system of compliance with U.S. federal hours-of-service requirements, adequate data and safety management systems, and valid insurance with a U.S. registered insurance company.
  • Mexican commercial vehicles with authority to operate beyond the commercial zones will be permitted to enter the United States only at commercial border crossings and only when a certified motor carrier safety inspector is on duty.
  • Federal and state safety inspectors will be required to inspect and verify the status and validity of the license of each driver of a long-haul Mexican-domiciled motor carrier (1) when carrying a placardable quantity of hazardous material; (2) when undergoing a full vehicle driver Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection; and (3) 50 percent of other long-haul Mexican drivers engaged in cross-border operations.
  • Mexican-domiciled carriers planning to operate solely within the commercial zones along the U.S-Mexico border will be required, within 18 months, to apply for provisional Certificates of Registration, which grant temporary authority to operate in the United States. The provisional Certificate of Registration cannot be made permanent for at least 18 months, until the carrier has successfully completed a safety audit.
  • DOT will provide all Mexican-domiciled carriers educational and technical assistance before the restrictions on Mexican carrier operations are lifted.
  • DOT and States will also do the following:
  • Equip all U.S.-Mexico commercial border crossings with scales suitable for enforcement action.
  • Equip five of the ten locations with the highest volume of commercial vehicle crossings with weigh-in-motion (WIM) scales before reviewing or processing carrier applications beyond the border zones. Three are operational (Otay Mesa, Nogales, Bridge of Americas/El Paso) and two more (Columbia-Solidarity Bridge/Laredo and Eagle Pass, Texas) should be in place by April 1.
  • Equip the remaining five of the highest volume of commercial vehicle crossings (World Trade Bridge/Laredo; Pharr, Texas; Veterans’ Bridge/Brownsville; Calexico, Calif. and Ysleta/El Paso) with weigh-in-motion devices within 12 months. An additional five will be in place by December 2002.