Trucks from Mexico threaten U.S. safety

News AASHTO Journal November 18, 2003
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Labor groups affiliated with the American Federal of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) are criticizing on sa

Labor groups affiliated with the American Federal of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) are criticizing on safety grounds the Bush Administration's grant of access to U.S. highways by Mexico-based trucks and buses.


In a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation last week, the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department said, "international trade should not come at the expense of U.S. safety, security and environmental standards and laws."


Ed Wytkind, executive director of that AFL-CIO department, stated that the administration is "shortchanging the safety and health of Americans in the name of globalization" in a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. "The fact is that Mexican-domiciled motor carriers still do not meet many of the safety requirements mandated under U.S. law," Wytkind stated.


He cited reports by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, which state that Mexican law is less stringent than U.S. law on roadside inspections and the number of consecutive hours a truck or bus driver can drive, AFL-CIO contends that U.S. enforcement capabilities are inadequate, with personnel at inspection facilities in 18 states lacking the authority to yank a vehicle deemed unsafe off U.S. roads.


Under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico-based trucks and buses were granted unlimited access to U.S. highways. Challenges to these provisions, however, have stalled their implementation until foreign motor carriers meet U.S. standards.


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