Mexican Truckers MUST talk English……

is the headline in todays Laredo Morning Times

This article dovetails nicely with a post we made last week about some Mexican truckers crying discrimination, and goes on to clarify their point.

A commercial truck driver from Monterrey who has crossed Laredos international bridges countless times was stunned earlier this month when he received a ticket from U.S. inspectors because he cant speak English.”We were worried,” said Samuel Tamez Treviño, owner of the truck that was driven by Rafael Segovia. “We consulted with attorneys. We were somewhat relieved when they told us it would be treated as a warning. But now what are we supposed to do?”

Tamez Treviño, whose transportation company is in Montemorelos, is concerned that his drivers may be unable or unwilling to learn English, considering that even a short, intense course to learn the basics can take five months.

Segovia, who was back home and unavailable for comment, was handed the citation on Aug. 2 at about 4:45 p.m. at the Colombia-Solidarity International Bridge. He also was cited for having a non-working brake light and a leaky hydraulic hose, which are fairly routine violations.

Tamez Treviño said hes never heard of any law requiring that his drivers know English. Many company owners dont speak English, let alone their workers, many of whom don’t even have a high school education.

Let’s keep in mind here we’re talking about the border shuttle trucks and before you get all excited and say “I told you so, I told you so”, how many of us have gotten warning tickets for a license plate light or tail light out. Not to mention the good old dodge the DOT uses to pad their stats, the “leaking power steering house”!

The article goes on to state;

The law requiring that Mexican truckers coming into the United States speak English has been on the books for years, but it has taken on renewed significance with the coming implementation of the Pilot Truck Program…….

But of course, in the commercial zone of Laredo, where the population is more than 90% Hispanic, this has largely been ignored since most business is conducted in Spanish. That is just the way it is.

Luis Moreno Sesma, president of the Nuevo Laredo branch of Canacar, a national association of transportation company owners, went on to say……..

“Its not fair to require English in the commercial (border) zone.”

Federal transportation officials in Laredo declined to comment, but a spokeswoman for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in Washington said truck drivers who are working only in the border commercial zone may be found in violation of the law for not being able to communicate in English but wont be stopped from crossing.

Those truck drivers who are headed past the border commercial zone, however, will not be allowed to continue their trip if they cant speak English, the spokeswoman said.

“The Mexican drivers may receive citations,” said the spokeswoman, who declined to give her name, “but that doesnt mean they have to stop working.”

Asked why the Mexican drivers werent given notice about the plan to start enforcing the law, the spokeswoman said Mexican authorities have been fully aware of the plan for some time. The Ministry of Communications and Transportation was involved in creating the demonstration program thats set to start soon.

“Whether the Mexican government has or has not informed the drivers about this law, well, thats something we cant answer for them,” she said.

Luis Moreno Sesma went on to state further that transportation company owners should form an alliance to seek help from Tamaulipas Gov. Eugenio Hernández Flores.

The leader said he can see the need for drivers heading into the U.S. interior to know English, but insisted that regulation shouldn’t apply to those who only drive in the border commercial zone.

Sr Sesma needs to realize the regulations are not selective but evenly enforced, or should be, nationwide. Whether or not drivers are willing or unable to learn English is besides the point. If they want to do business on this side of the border, they need to learn.

However, Mexico Trucker believes there shouldn’t be a rush to cite these guys who run the shuttle trucks simply as a revenue tool, which in reality, is all it is. Most if not all the inspectors, DPS officers, city and country law enforcement here in Laredo, Webb Country and the surrounding areas, speak fluent Spanish as well as English.

But for all of the opponents of this program whose last grasp at rebellion is the english language requirement, you can rest easy tonight knowing it is being enforced. Selectively mind you, but it is being enforced.

Something else to keep in mind also. American drivers can’t agree on the time of day. Mexican drivers, like their Canadian counterparts, are a tight group. If this persists, you can expect to see the border blockaded and shut down in protest. It has happened before, I can see it happening here over this issue.

And if this happens, you will see the importance of NAFTA and the free flow of goods and how it effects the American trucking industries freight volume.