PCI Calls Safety Rule Enforcement Most Important Concern after NAFTA Trucking Decision

June 10, 2004

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America has issued a comment on the recent unanimous decision by the Supreme Court to allow Mexican trucks to use U.S. highways (See IJ Web site June 7).

The PCI said the “crux of the issue now is safety rule enforcement.” The decision, which clears the way for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to implement cross-border trucking regulations, paves the way to open the southern U.S. border to Mexican trucks.

The PCI pointed out that the court ruled that, “FMCSA remains subject to its mandate that it register any motor carrier willing and able to comply with various safety and financial responsibility rules. Only the moratorium prevented it from doing so for Mexican trucks before 2001.” Further, the Court held that “because FMCSA lacks discretion to prevent cross-border operations of Mexican motor carriers, neither NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act of 1969] nor the CAA [Clean Air Act] require this agency (FMCSA) to evaluate the environmental effects of such operations.”

“FMCSA has developed the rules and infrastructure to hold Mexican motor carriers to the same safety standards as American motor carriers,” stated David M. Golden, PCI director of commercial lines. “The real issue is compliance and the ball is now in the court of FMCSA to follow through with that enforcement. PCI’s main concern is the safety of our highways and the American public.”

Another concern, according to Golden, is that the insurance market for cross-border operations be open to all interested insurers who chose to enter it, as it develops. PCI has been active in the Trilateral Insurance Working Group (TIWG), and the NAFTA Working Group of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), advising insurance and trucking regulators from the U.S., Mexico and Canada for many years.

“The Association’s primary focus has been safety, as well as assuring that the market to provide cross-border trucking insurance would be available to any insurer that wished to participate,” Golden stressed. “We will continue to work with colleagues of all three countries to streamline and harmonize insurance regulations to facilitate entry of insurers into this new market.”

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