New Rules for Mexican Trucks on the way to Capitol Hill

Many Mexican truckers are at home with their families on the weekend
Many Mexican truckers are at home with their families on the weekend
The WASHINGTON TIMES is reporting that guidelines to allow Mexican trucks renewed access is going through the pipeline and headed to Congress for approval

“The proposal has been through the interagency process … and it is ready to go to the Hill,” said Doug Goudie, trade policy director at the National Association of Manufacturers, which has advocated for the Mexican trucks.

Earlier this year, representatives from several parties with interests in the fate of the trucking program, including officials from the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), the Teamsters union, and state trucking inspectors, were called to meet with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The subject was, “Tell us what you want,” said Clayton Boyce, a spokesman for the American Trucking Associations.

“It was not a public meeting, but everybody had a say and got to hear what each group thought,” Mr. Boyce said. “The CVSA said, ‘We’ll enforce whatever you want us to,’ and the Teamsters said, ‘You need to fix a number of things, and even then we won’t support anything because it’s taking away American jobs.’ ”

The ATA, he said, thinks the pilot program “was working fine.”

After President Obama signed legislation that, among other things, ended the pilot program for Mexican trucks, Mexico quickly implemented the retaliatory tariffs, affecting 89 U.S. agricultural and industrial products from 40 states.

Critics of Mexican trucks in the U.S., particularly trucking unions, back the ban.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has long been an opponent of granting Mexican trucks access to U.S. highways. As part of NAFTA, Mexican trucks were to have unrestricted access to highways, initially in the states that border Mexico – Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona – and to all U.S. highways by January 2000.

At a forum of organized labor in March, Teamsters President James P. Hoffa repeated his false assumptions that Mexican trucks put Americans at risk because they don’t meet the same safety requirements as those from the U.S. The 18 month Pilot Program totally debunked Hoffa’s claims.

“The Mexican government has not held up their end of the bargain to meet U.S. standards,” Mr. Hoffa said at a conference hosted by the International Labor Rights Forum, the Global Policy Network and the Economic Policy Institute. “Mexican trucks are unsafe, and Mexican drivers are not required to meet the same criteria that American drivers must meet to earn a commercial driver’s license. It’s long past time to close the border to these unguided missiles.”

A Teamsters representative declined to comment on the pending proposal to put Mexican trucks back on U.S. roads.

A pilot program during the Bush administration found that Mexican trucks were as safe as U.S. trucks – safer, in some cases. A Department of Transportation study released in October found that Mexican trucks had better safety ratings than American trucks, although the department qualified its statement by noting that more trucks were needed to ensure a strong reporting standard.

OOIDA, the Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association chimed in on their Landlinenow show last night how they intend to fight this latest proposal. Without knowing the details, they urge their members to flood Congress with phone calls to “educate” lawmakers. Funny huh? The uneducated educating the educated. The majority of US truckers I’ve spoken too, have no problem with Mexican trucks in this country, as long as they follow our rules, something they proved more than capable of doing during the previous 18 month Pilot Program.