Plans to allow Mexican truck traffic on U.S. roads earned the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) a failing report card from safety groups this week. Public Citizen has reported that members of Congress, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a trucking trade association and many other organizations presented some unfavorable opinion poll results to the agency in a recent press conference.
The event was sparked by a DOT announcement that it will press ahead with a pilot program allowing poorly-regulated Mexican tractor trailers to travel extensively on U.S. highways. Earlier, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Safe American Roads Act, in hopes of halting the pilot program. The Senate has yet to pass the bill, however, and DOT officials maintain that there is no certainty it will, that the president would ever agree to sign it, or that Congress could muster the votes to override a potential presidential veto.
Currently, Mexican trucks are allowed limited travel within commercial zones as far as 30 miles into U.S. territory along southern borders in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Mexican cargo must be transferred to American vehicles within those zones before being transported further into the U.S. The proposed DOT pilot program would eliminate that current restriction, and would simultaneously allow U.S. trucks to begin operating in Mexico for the first time.
Opponents of the trucking pilot argue that under its rules, safety standards required for U.S. vehicles — like frequent safety inspections, limits on the number of hours per day a truck driver may operate, drug testing, and criminal background checks for drivers hauling dangerous chemicals — will not apply to Mexican trucks, or will be weakly enforced.For information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at (202) 463-3030.