St. Mary's Law Journal


This Article is intended to serve as a primer for attorneys representing clients engaged in shipping, receiving, and transporting merchandise between points in the United States of Mexico (Mexico) and the United States of America. A “crazy quilt” of laws and regulations govern the rights, duties, and obligations of persons engaged in these activities. These laws include not only the constitutions and statutes of two independent nations, but also the laws and regulations of their various political subdivisions as well. Due to the breadth of this material, this Article’s treatment of the subject is general, providing an overview of the laws directly affecting transborder road transportation. Besides providing a general background as to the operation of the present transborder system, this Article touches on specific issues. It addresses the following: economic regulation of motor carriers; the application of tax, customs, insurance, and safety laws: and regulations to carrier equipment. It discusses the application of labor and immigration laws and regulations to carrier employees. It also focuses on the application of negligence and contract laws and regulations to the transportation of cargo in both Mexico and United States.

If the North American free trade zone is to become a reality, it must have a viable road transportation system. It is imperative that merchandise move between all points in Canada, the United States, and Mexico in a fast, safe, and efficient manner without undue delay. To accomplish this, the carriers of these three nations must operate without hindrance. The rights, duties, and obligations of carriers, middlemen, and users must be clearly defined and enforced. The present system meets none of these prerequisites.


St. Mary's University School of Law