Truckers oppose letting Mexican trucks on U.S. roads


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For thousands of Texas truckers, home is the open road.

But when it comes to sharing the road with truckers from south of the border, many are not in favor of an open house.

“Safety. They run junk down there. It’s as simple as that,” trucker John Struess said.

Currently, trucks from the U.S. and Mexico are only allowed 20 miles into each other’s country to deliver their cargo.

But the Bush administration has unveiled a plan to allow 100 Mexican freighters to hall cargo much deeper into the states to comply with the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement.

NAFTA promised access to all U.S. highways by the year 2000, but that aspect of the trade agreement has since been stalled in litigation.

Supporters of the pilot program say the U.S. can’t summarily exclude all Mexican trucks on the basis they’re unsafe.

The government can demand that they are safe, but can’t simply assume they’re not.

That means inspecting trucks at the border and interviewing drivers to ensure they can read and speak English.

“The fact they’ve said they would have inspectors on the borders to inspect these trucks is absurd, when only 10 percent of the trucks that are now permitted within the 20-mile radius are being inspected,” Robert Mele of Teamsters Local 988 said.

“We have flat out not complied with our obligation to allow Mexican trucks here on the assumption they would be unsafe. And you can’t assume a product is unsafe. You have to prove it,” University of Houston law professor Steven Zamora said


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