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DOTU.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Regulations

For many years, Mexican carriers have transported cargo from Mexico into U.S. municipalities and commercial zones adjacent to the border (border zones) where their loads are transferred to a warehouse or U.S. carrier for transport to a final destination. However, recent changes to U.S. regulations and policies will permit Mexican carriers to deliver (and back-haul) international shipments into the U.S. and beyond the border zones. The new rules also affect Mexican carriers that want to continue operating only in the border zones.

Registration Requirements. Mexican carriers that want to operate in the U.S. must register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). There are two different registration forms, one for carriers that want to operate only in commercial zones (Form OP-2) and a separate form for carriers that want to operate beyond the commercial zones (Form OP-1).

Use the following forms and instructions if you want to receive a Certificate of Registration to operate only in the border zones. Please note, that existing commercial zone carriers must file Form OP-2, even if they previously received a Certificate of Registration. FMCSA will evaluate current certificate holders who re-file under the new rules to determine if they meet U.S. Safety standards and should be permitted to continue operation in the border zones. Also note that you must also submit a Form BOC-3 (Designation of Agents, Brokers and Freight Forwarders) to receive a Certificate of Registration.

Use the following form and instructions if you want to operate in the U.S. beyond the border zones.

Driver Requirements. These rules apply to Mexican motor carrier beyond the border zones.

  • Commercial drivers from Mexico must have the Mexican equivalent of a U.S. commercial driver's license. This is a Licencia Federal, which is a Mexican driver's license issued by the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT).

  • Drivers must meet U.S. medical criteria. See FMCSA Rules.

  • Drivers are subject to U.S. drug and alcohol requirements. See FMCSA Regulations.

  • Drivers must follow U.S. hours of service rules to ensure that they have sufficient rest to drive safely, and they must maintain logs to prove it to safety inspectors. See: FMCSA Regulations.

Vehicle Safety Regulations and Other Rules. The following is a summary of rules related to vehicle safety. These rules apply to operation of Mexican motor carriers beyond the border zones.

  • To receive operating authority, all Mexico-domiciled carriers must undergo a safety audit by FMCSA. The purpose of the audits is to ensure that carriers have methods in place to comply with the safety regulations.

  • Mexican carriers granted authority to operate in the United States beyond the border zones will receive a formal compliance review within the first 18 months of operation. Carriers that receive and maintain satisfactory compliance ratings will be awarded permanent operating authority at the end of the 18-month period of operating under provisional operating authority.

  • All Mexican trucks operating in the U.S. will be required to display a valid Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) inspection decal. These decals, valid for 90 days, indicate a vehicle has passed a safety inspection by a qualified inspector. See CVSA

  • Mexican truck companies will be required to carry U.S. insurance while operating in the United States. See Insurance Information.

Packaging and Hazard Communications Requirements
The USDOT has established packaging and transportation requirements (49 CFR Parts 100 to 185). These standards include:

  • proper waste packing instructions;
  • proper marking and labeling instructions;
  • proper shipping name, identification number, and
  • hazard class for manifest preparation; and
  • placarding for transportation of waste.
For more information, see the USDOT HAZMAT Safety. Or, call toll-free USDOT regulatory information, at 1-800-467-4922.

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