OOIDA: Cabotage is against the rules, empty trailer or not

| 10/6/2006

Large motor carriers and their associations in the U.S. and Canada have been calling for certain aspects of cabotage laws to be loosened up. Now, the Canadian Trucking Alliance has announced its members may seek more reforms if a rule governing the movement of empty trailers gets changed.

Current U.S. law states foreign drivers are not allowed to reposition trailers, including empty ones, other than the one they arrived with or will depart with.

OOIDA officials want that law to remain unchanged.

But, CTA is hoping to get the governments of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to allow foreign drivers to reposition empty trailers.

“If this change can be accomplished, CTA would be interested in exploring other, more significant reforms, in concert with industry and government on both sides of the border,” CTA President David Bradley stated in a press release.

That hasn’t set well with OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer, who said enforcement for existing cabotage rules is already lacking.

“We think they ought to be enforced more than they are now,” Spencer said.

For years, ATA and the CTA have called for the empty-trailer rule to be loosened. Bradley said an empty trailer is just that, and it does not involve the domestic movement of cargo by a foreign driver.

Spencer said OOIDA does not like the idea of loosening up any of the cabotage rules, empty trailer or not.

“Further obscuring the issue leads to the skirting of compliance,” he said.

– By David Tanner, staff writer