Monday, February 26, 2007

Mexican trucks now scheduled to roam across the U.S.

The Bush Administration’s decision to allow Mexican trucks onto all U.S. roads has drawn angry reactions from labor leaders, safety advocates and members of Congress. Mexico, they said, has substandard trucks and low-paid drivers who will threaten national security, cost thousands of jobs and endanger motorists on the U.S. side of the Mexican border.

Said Teamsters President Jim Hoffa: "They are playing a game of Russian roulette on America's highways."

The USDOT says its inspectors will check every truck and interview drivers to make sure they can read and speak English, and will examine trucks and check the licenses, insurance and driving records of the drivers.

National Transportation Safety Board member Debbie Hersman questioned how the U.S. could spare sending inspectors to Mexico when only a tiny percentage of the hundreds of thousands of U.S. truck companies are inspected every year. One-fourth of all U.S. trucks are taken off the road after random inspections because they're so unsafe, she said. An even higher percentage of Mexican trucks are taken off the road at Texas border crossings, she said.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation has scheduled a March 8 hearing to determine whether the arrangement meets safety requirements.

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