Unsafe Foreign Trucks Endanger The American Public

In March 2011, the United States of America and Mexico signed a trade agreement that ended a Mexican tariff on U.S. products in return for opening the border to Mexican trucks meeting American safety and environmental regulations.  Unfortunately for the motoring public, the drivers of the trucks and the trucks themselves often times fall short of the American safety and environmental regulations.

Some of the safety efforts for the Mexican companies driving in the United States are abysmal.  This is especially true for maintenance items that impact the ability of the truck to operate safely on the roadway.  One Mexican truck was stopped 18 times in a one-year period.  The truck was found to have defective or missing axle parts, brake defects, a cracked frame, inoperative signals, oil and grease leaks, and a brake violation.  One Mexican company was cited 44 times in one day for maintenance violations.  The Mexican trucking company operating the most trucks on U.S. roadways has a vehicle maintenance record poorer than 77 percent of all American trucking companies.

Driver fitness scores have long been an indicator of a truck driver’s qualifications to safely operate a tractor trailer.  The same Mexican trucking company that was cited 44 times for maintenance violations in a single day also has driver fitness scores lower than 99 percent of American trucking companies.  The trade regulations require that these Mexican drivers be able to fluently speak English.  This requirement is in place to assure these drivers can safely understand highway signs and signals, respond to official inquiries and fill out regulatory reports.  Many of these drivers have been found unable to speak English despite the requirements.

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