Trucks from Mexico can hit U.S. highways

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. president George Bush has okayed the opening up of American highways to trucks from Mexico.

Until the presidential approval that came yesterday, trucks from Mexico could not venture beyond commercial border zones while U.S. authorities built new inspection sites and put in place new regulations to deal with Mexican trucks.

Bush said last year that he wanted to allow Mexican trucks on U.S. highways, to comply with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Before Mexican commercial trucks and buses actually start rolling on American roads, the Department of Transportation must review 130 applications from Mexico-based carriers, and grant provisional operating U.S. operating authority to companies that qualify.

U.S. transportation secretary, Norman Mineta, says Mexican drivers and carriers will have to meet the same standards as their American counterparts.

Mexican drivers will have to comply with U.S. drug and alcohol requirements, follow American hours of service regulations, and have a “Licencia Federal”. Mexico and the U.S. have had a reciprocity agreement between the Mexican Licencia Federal and the U.S. commercial driver’s licence since 1991.

Mexico-based carriers will have to undergo a safety audit by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to be given authority to operate on American highways.

As well, all Mexican trucks and buses running on U.S. roads will have to display a valid Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) inspection decal indicating that they have successfully passed a safety inspection.

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