Tags: mexico | trucking

Unsafe Mexican Trucks Roll On

Monday, 10 Sep 2007 10:24 AM

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“From the cowardice that dare not face new truths, From the laziness that is contented with half truth, From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth, Good Lord, deliver me.”

— Kenyan prayer

The epic arrogance of an administration that can comfortably blow off p.o.-ed Teamsters, apoplectic environmentalists, and a mystified Congress is beyond merely annoying.

Mexican trucks are rolling, rolling, rolling, and apparently, notwithstanding overwhelming congressional and public opinion disapproval, no one can do "jack" to stop them.

The litany of specific significant issues is awe-inspiring and cavalierly ignored by the haughty administration.

  • No one knows or can confirm if drivers are even properly licensed

  • No one know if drivers are sober or rested with the legally required amount of down time

  • Do they speak English? Can they read U.S. road signs?

  • What is the cargo they carry? Terrorists, illegal immigrants, drugs, or weapons of mass destruction?

  • Will banned pollution foul the air?

  • Are American truckers in danger of losing jobs to lower-paid Mexican drivers?

  • What about the loss of tax revenue which supports the U.S. highway infrastructure?

    Sadly, we don’t know what we don’t know . . . and the administration apparently couldn’t care less.

    Our derelict Department of Transportation is allowing 44 Mexican long-haul vehicles to participate in the first 30 days. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Soon, over 100 Mexican trucking companies will be green lighted to dispatch thousands of trucks into El Norte.

    The audacity of the administration’s contempt for public opinion, Congress, and our law is reprehensible. But hey, this is what we knew could and would result from NAFTA. I warned about this in 1991, 1998 http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/wndarchive/19483.html and in 2000 http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/wndarchive/19580.html.

    Truckers already have begun to protest the project at the California border and a massive trucker’s protest drive on Washington is anticipated.

    NAFTA was, is, and will always be a bad deal. A borderless North America was a designed, intended consequence of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. Canadian trucks have already had free passage throughout the U.S. but the DOT has never certified Mexican trucks . . . until now.

    A 2000 demand from a NAFTA tribunal upheld Mexican complaints. No surprise!

    Mexican trucks, which make over 4.5 million trips over the border each year, had been limited to about a 20-mile zone where loads had to be to U.S. trucks for delivery.

    On May 15, Congress passed the Safe American Roads Act of 2007 by a 411-3 margin, prohibiting the DOT from putting the “pilot program” into effect until a list of requirements were met, such as insuring full inspection of the Mexican trucks and allowing U.S. trucks to operate in Mexico beyond commercial zones.

    The White House reportedly leaned on the Senate Transportation Committee (big-time) not to hold hearings on the Senate version of the bill. The administration and their DOT are driving on in total defiance of both the will of the American people and Congress.

    There is no way/no how that U.S. trucking regulations will be enforced in Mexico.

  • Mexican drivers are supposed have to be drug-tested. However, there are no certified alcohol/drug testing facilities in Mexico.

  • There is no national criminal database in Mexico.

  • Corruption is epidemic.

    The DOT does a lousy job of inspecting American trucks (some 40 percent inspected). Does anyone really expect them to do any better with Mexican trucks?

    The Bush administration has argued “the critical bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Mexico would be placed under considerable strain by further delay in the demonstration project.” Bullfeathers!

    Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, has called the program, “a perfect storm. It is a predictable disaster.”

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that 17.5 percent of inspected Mexican trucks had bad brakes!

  • One in four border-crossing drivers did not have a Mexican commercial license.

  • 15 percent had no logbooks.

    Seventy percent of the $300 billion in trade between the US and Mexico in 2006 was carried by truck.

    You don’t need to be a tree hugger to understand that more traffic in older, dirtier rigs will hurt clean air standards.

    According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) allowing Mexican trucks into the U.S. will bring an additional 50 tons per day of polluting nitrogen oxide and 2.5 tons of other particulate matter into California.

    An average US trucker pays over $16,000 in highway user fees. Mexicans trucks won’t be paying spit. Thousands of trucks at some 400 gallons per truck will contribute significantly to lost highway maintenance tax money.

    There is some question if Marcus Tullius Cicero did or didn’t say, “The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt . . .” However, whoever said it was spot on.

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