U.S./Mexico cross-border program to track trucks with GPS
Mexican trucks crossing into the United States under a controversial Bush administration cross-border pilot program will be tracked by Global Positioning System tracking devices starting this month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Monday.
The move comes in response to congressional concerns over compliance with U.S. safety and trade laws by the Mexican-domiciled trucks involved in the program.
FMCSA officials expect to spend $367,000 on outfitting all trucks in the program with the satellite tracking equipment. The GPS devices, which allow real-time position tracking of truck locations, will document every international-border and state-line crossing by the trucks in the program.
The FMCSA said that both U.S. and Mexican trucks in the program will be outfitted with the devices. According to FMCSA officials, the devices will not detail driver information and only track the trucks by vehicle number and the associated trucking firm.
The Department of Transportation pilot program, which officially started in September, seeks to authorize up to 600 pre-screened Mexican trucks to move beyond the current 20- to 25-mile U.S. border zone limit. Announced earlier this year, the program has faced litigation and vociferous criticism from elected officials, labor unions and community groups. Most have cited a perceived lack of safety within the Mexican trucking industry and threats to U.S. jobs as reasons for their opposition. DOT officials claim that the program contains adequate safeguards to protect the public.
Several efforts by Congress earlier this year sought to defund the program and another round of defunding legislation is set to be voted on by Congress in the coming weeks.