A new Texas law, which took effect September 1, 2023, impacts truck drivers with commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs) that were issued in Mexico or Canada and the companies who employ them. The law will be fully enforced after a 90-day grace period.
Since the United States has CDL reciprocity agreements with Canada and Mexico, CDLs issued by the Mexican government or Canadian provinces or territories are valid for operating a commercial vehicle in the United States. A new Texas state law requires that individuals with a Mexican or Canadian CDL possess a U.S. government-issued work or residency visa in order to operate in Texas. A B-1 visa, for instance, is sufficient.
The stated goal of the legislation is to combat a pervasive problem of CDLs being fraudulently issued outside the United States without required examinations. Previously, Texas prosecutors lacked a clear path for ruling on offenses concerning the forgery of foreign government documents such as CDLs. The new law clearly defines Mexican and Canadian CDLs and commercial learner’s permits as government documents for the purpose of filing charges for falsified documents or tampering with government documents.
With the new law in effect, when drivers are pulled over, inspectors may demand evidence of their work authorization along with their valid CDL.
Implications for Trucking Companies
The new law underscores the importance for trucking companies to only hire truck drivers who are authorized to work in the United States, and to verify that their employees possess valid CDLs or commercial learner’s permits. It is important for trucking companies to comply with all applicable industry regulations, and to maintain good records, in order to ensure safety and to protect themselves from liability.
The transportation and trucking attorneys at Texas law firm Sheehy, Ware, Pappas & Grubbs have represented transportation and trucking companies in litigation and other matters for more than 20 years. If you would like to speak to a trucking lawyer about your transportation-related matter, contact us.