Archive for the “Mexican Trucks” Category

Public Citizen

In a stealthy maneuver, the Bush administration has boosted the threat to the public by increasing the number of Mexico-based trucking firms allowed access to all U.S. roads as part of the reckless North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trucking ?pilot program.? The Department of Transportation recently revealed an increase in the number of NAFTA trucks permitted to all U.S. highways ? now 10 carriers, sending as many as 55 trucks throughout the country.

The last time the Bush administration made a public announcement about the number of Mexico-based carriers allowed to participate in the NAFTA trucks pilot program, there were only three carriers.

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dog and pony show
Unimpressive dog and pony show.

Washington Times

Bush administration Cabinet members joined Mexican officials yesterday to assure the public that Mexican trucks are safe to drive on U.S. highways and to promote increased trade between the two countries.

Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters, appearing alongside U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Mexican Transportation Secretary Luis Tellez, sought to assuage American fears of Mexican trucks by conducting a public safety inspection of two vehicles participating in a cross-border pilot program.

Each truck’s country of origin remained a mystery while a Maryland state trooper performed safety inspections. After kicking the tires and checking the headlights, among other things, both trucks passed inspection.

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Mexican trucks show better safety records than U.S. counterparts
San Diego Union Tribune
September 18, 2007

WASHINGTON â?? Mexican commercial carriers that have enjoyed a little publicized right to send trucks beyond a restricted U.S. border zone in recent years have a better safety record than their U.S. counterparts, federal transportation officials said Tuesday.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said the carriers, who number 859, had only 1.21 percent of their drivers removed from service after they failed roadside inspections between 2003 and 2006.

By comparison, the share of all U.S. truck drivers placed out of service after failing inspections â?? such as, for not possessing a valid driver license â?? was 7.06 percent for the same period.

The figures, which are part of a larger study, are significant because they provide backing for the Bush administration’s contention that a controversial pilot program allowing pre-approved Mexican trucks to travel throughout the United States is safe.

â??It’s consistent with what we’ve been saying all along,â? said John Hill, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. â??It shows that the Mexican carriers have responded to those safety requirements and become as safe or safer â?? than what U.S. carriers are.â?

The agency launched the pilot program less than two weeks ago, but it is under assault from the House and Senate, which have passed separate versions of legislation to shut down funding for the program. Final legislation to end the program has not yet won passage in Congress.

The pilot would allow up to 100 pre-approved Mexican carriers to send trucks throughout the United States for a year to test the safety of cross-border trucking.

U.S. carriers also would receive authority to travel in Mexico for the first time as a step toward opening the border to commercial traffic as required under the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

Opponents of the program argue that Mexican truck drivers are used to inferior safety standards and lax enforcement and will pose a danger on U.S. highways.

The Transportation Department’s figures are deceptive, said Jerry Donaldson, senior research director at Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which opposes the pilot.

Since the majority of Mexican carriers that have long haul authority are at least partially owned by American companies, they are more likely than other Mexican truckers to be familiar with U.S. laws, he said.

â??And because of the fact that they know and have known for some years now that they are under scrutiny, I am not at all surprised that they would have a slightly better safety record,â? he said……

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Once again, the Democrat Senator from my home state of North Dakota saves the day! He was there with us against the Amnesty too.

Thank you Byron Dorgan!

Byron Dorgan
Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat


WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Tuesday to ban Mexican trucks from U.S. roadways, rekindling a more than decade-old trade dispute with Mexico.

By a 74-24 vote, the Senate approved a proposal by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., prohibiting the Transportation Department from spending money on a North American Free Trade Agreement pilot program giving Mexican trucks access to U.S. highways.

The proposal is part of a $106 billion transportation and housing spending bill that the Senate hopes to vote on later this week. The House approved a similar provision to Dorgan’s in July as part of its version of the transportation spending bill.

Supporters of Dorgan’s amendment argued the trucks are not yet proven safe. Opponents said the U.S. is applying tougher standards to Mexican trucks than to Canadian trucks and failing to live up to its NAFTA obligations.

Until last week, Mexican trucks were restricted to driving within a commercial border zone that stretched about 20 miles from the U.S.-Mexican boundary, 75 miles in Arizona. One truck has traveled deep into the U.S. interior as part of the pilot program.

Blocking the trucks would help Democrats curry favor with organized labor, an important ally for the 2008 presidential elections.

“Why the urgency? Why not stand up for the (truck) standards that we’ve created and developed in this country?” Dorgan asked.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who drafted a Republican alternative to Dorgan’s amendment, said the attempt to block the trucks appeared to be about limiting competition and may amount to discrimination against Mexico.

“I would never allow an unsafe truck on our highways, particularly Texas highways,” he said.

Under NAFTA, Mexico can seek retaliation against the U.S. for failing to adhere to the treaty’s requirements, including retaining tariffs on goods that the treaty eliminates, said Sidney Weintraub, a professor emeritus at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin.

The trucking program allows up to 100 Mexican carriers to send their trucks on U.S. roadways for delivery and pickup of cargo. None can carry hazardous material or haul cargo between U.S. points.

So far, the Department of Transportation has granted a single Mexican carrier, Transportes Olympic, access to U.S. roads after a more than decade-long dispute over the NAFTA provision opening up the roadways.

One of the carrier’s trucks crossed the border in Laredo, Texas last week and delivered its cargo in North Carolina on Monday and was expected to return to Mexico late this week after a stop in Decatur, Ala.

The transportation bill is S. 1789.

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Seattle PI

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico — A dynamite-laden truck exploded after colliding with another vehicle on a busy highway in northern Mexico’s coal country, killing at least 34 people, including three reporters at the scene, state and federal officials said.

Authorities said the two vehicles crashed into each other Sunday evening, drawing a crowd of curious onlookers as well as a small army of police, soldiers, emergency officials and journalists.

Shortly after the crowd arrived, the wreckage caught fire, and the dynamite exploded, sending a ball of fire into the sky that consumed nearby cars and left a 10-by-40 foot crater in the concrete, said Maximo Alberto Neri Lopez, a federal police official.

He said more than 150 people were injured.

The force of the explosion blew out the windows of a passenger bus a quarter-mile away.

The dead included three newspaper reporters from the nearby city of Monclova, said Luis Horacio de Hoyos of the Coahuila state Attorney General’s Office.

It was unclear if the explosive truck’s driver was among the dead. Early reports said he might have fled.

Coahuila state has a large mining industry, most of it in coal.

The explosion raised further questions about the safety of Mexican trucks.

This weekend, Mexico began sending its first tractor-trailers across U.S. territory under a long-delayed, NAFTA-mandated program. Before, Mexican trucks were limited to 25-mile zone along the border.

Many in the U.S. fought the change, arguing that Mexican trucks are unsafe.

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