I've been listening to the progress of this bill on XM. It's a hot topic for OOIDA, the Trucking Bozo, and Rollye James.
A little history behind this: The Mexican Truck Pilot Program was started under NAFTA requirements for open border trade. But NAFTA also states that
each country may require an equal amount of safety/regulatory measures from the other countries to participate. This would mean that Mexican trucks
would have to meet the same basic requirements for safety and regulation that are imposed by the US on US-owned trucks.
In the US, trucks are subject to very restrictive requirements as to condition, even including the routing of air lines and stability of any
accessories (such as tarps, chains, blocking, etc). Every single light installed on the vehicle must work, tire inflation pressure is regulated to
within +/- 5 lbs of optimum, and tire tread minimums are specifically stated, as are whether or not specific tires may be retreads or must have new
In the US, every driver of a Commercial Vehicle must have on their possession at all times a CDL from their home state. Any accident/incident is
investigated and noted by the USDOT and licenses are suspended/revoked for infractions that are considered minor for other motorists. Alcohol/drug
testing is required regularly and randomly to insure that no driver is impaired, and HOS (Hours Of Service) regulations require the drivers to report
on official government documents whenever they change duty for more than 7 1/2 minutes, including stopping to use a restroom.
Since the inception of the Mexican Truck Pilot Program, every Mexican carrier inspected has had multiple safety and/or HOS violations. The rate of
infractions is many times that of the worst US trucking companies. As a consequence of this, and in response to Mary Peters' (US Secretary of
Transportation) assertion to expand the program anyway, Congress passed a bill requiring that no more money was to be spent on this program. Despite a
signature by George Bush, making the bill a law, the USDOT has continued to fund it in direct opposition to Congress.
This bill is a direct order to discontinue the program, which has placed dangerously inadequate trucks with under-trained and unregulated drivers on
our highways and placed a larger financial burden on US carriers and US drivers through unfair and uneven competition. Bush is vowing to veto it
because it does not contain any 'loopholes' that can be used by the USDOT to continue the program.
My congratulations to the House of Representatives for their first attempt in a while to actually place the American businesses and people ahead of
foreign interests. I only hope the Senate will be as resounding in their decision. A veto by Bush will occur if they are not substantially unanimous
in their stance.