Hoffa criticizes plan to admit Mexican trucks to US
Mar 9, 2007 1:22 PM
James Hoffa, Teamsters president, told a Senate subcommittee March 8 that the Bush administration’s plan is flawed that would begin a trial program for allowing Mexican trucks to transport goods in the United States.
Hoffa said safety and security issues remain unresolved and that federal resources “do not exist to carry out an aggressive oversight and enforcement program.” According to Teamster information, he made the comments before the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development.
The Bush administration and the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced February 23 plans for the year-long pilot program that expands US cross-border trucking operations with Mexico. US trucks will for the first time be allowed to make deliveries in Mexico while a select group of Mexican trucking companies will be allowed to make deliveries beyond the 20-25 mile commercial zones currently in place along the US Southwest border.
The first Mexican trucks to be authorized under the program will begin traveling beyond US border areas once the initial in-person safety inspections are done and proof-of-insurance verified, DOT said. Meanwhile, Mexico will begin to consider applications from US trucking firms for licensing rights to operate within Mexico. Approximately 100 US operators would be licensed by Mexico for cross-border operations.
The Teamsters said it has led efforts to keep the border closed for the past 12 years. “The Mexican government has had 15 years to address truck safety and they have failed miserably,” Hoffa testified at the Senate hearing. “They have had 15 years to implement a national computer system like the US and they have failed miserably. They have had 15 years to create driver training and safety programs and they have failed miserably. They have had 15 years to create driver protocols like drug testing and physicals and they have failed miserably. I ask that you not permit this program to move forward.”
DOT said at the time of the program announcement that truck safety inspectors working for the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will travel to Mexico to conduct extensive safety audits on companies interested in hauling cargo into and out of the United States as part of the program. FMCSA inspectors will evaluate Mexican carriers' driver testing for compliance with US requirements. They also will check that drivers have a valid commercial driver license, have a current medical certificate, can comply with US hours-of-service rules, and be able to understand questions and directions in English. The FMCSA teams will review driving histories for each driver the company plans to use to operate within the United States.
In addition, each inspection team will verify that every US-bound truck has passed a comprehensive safety inspection. Trucks lacking required documentation will be subject to an inspection by the teams. DOT said that Mexican truck companies will be required to have insurance with a US-licensed firm and meet all US safety standards. Companies that meet these standards will be allowed to make international pick up and deliveries only and will not be able to move goods from one US city for delivery to another, haul hazardous materials, or transport passengers.
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