WASHINGTON, DC — A US plan to allow 100 Mexican trucking companies to haul loads deeper within the country is facing some opposition.
The US government announced last week it would allow Mexican carriers to operate in the US. Those trucking firms would be subjected to inspections by US inspection officers. Currently, Mexican trucks are only allowed to operate within 20 miles of the US, where they must swap loads with US carriers.
This program will make trade with Mexico easier and keep our roads safe at the same time, US Transportation Secretary, Mary Peters said. Mexican trucks could take to US highways as soon as 60 days from now under the ruling.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is one lobby group that opposes the changes. It says it has concerns about safety, security, driver verification, drug and alcohol testing, hours-of-service, cabotage, inspections and insurance.
While some of the safety shortcomings of trucks from Mexico have seen improvement since (2002, when Congress refused to allow Mexican trucking companies to operate freely within the US), many others have not. DOT has maintained for at least a decade that the licences used in Mexico to drive trucks are the equivalent of the American CDL, thats never been true, insisted OOIDA executive vice-president Todd Spencer. There is simply no way anyone can know whether a truck driver coming from Mexico entering the United States has been awake two hours or two weeks when they clear the border.
OOIDA also said US enforcement officers cannot see a Mexican drivers home record when they swipe a Mexican CDL only their driving performance in the US will appear.
When enforcement officials run a Mexican CDL the only information he can access will be that of previous operation in the U.S., not Mexico where a driver might have a rap sheet as along as your arm, added Spencer.
The owner/op group is calling on Congress to put an end to the pilot project.
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