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Trucker charged for having poor English skills

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- A trucker in Alabama has been fined US$500 for failing a roadside English test.


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A trucker in Alabama has been fined US$500 for failing a roadside English test.

It’s an issue that Truck News brought to light in January, 2008. At that time, contributor Anne Peters wrote that while English language proficiency has been a requirement since NAFTA was inked, enforcement officers did little to enforce the rule. However that was set to change, and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance suggested it was going to place more emphasis on ensuring truck drivers travelling in the US were proficient in the country’s native language. Truck drivers who are unable to communicate in English may face fines or even be placed out-of-service.

The issue was discussed at the Ontario Trucking Association’s convention last November.

Manuel Castillo’s story made headlines last week after he was hit with a stiff fine for failing a language test.

“It just doesn’t seem fair to be ticketed if I wasn’t doing anything dangerous on the road,” he told the Associated Press.

Castillo admits to speaking English at about a Grade 3 level, according to news reports. However, he said he was able to understand the officer well enough to provide his driver’s licence and registration upon request. He wasn’t speeding and wasn’t in violation of any laws, besides the rule he was charged with, being a “non-English speaking driver.”

– With files from the Associated Press


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