Mexican Truckers - Granted Use of Texas Highways
Starting September 6, 2007, Mexican freight trucks are allowed to enter and travel throughout the United States, due to the fact that the U.S. Department of Transportation began issuing operating permits to Mexican Trucking Firms. Some fear this decision of the U.S. Government to allow these trucks on to U.S. Highways, while others do not see this as a major issue. This new rule to allow Mexican truckers to drive into the U.S. interior faces legal challenges. Mexican trucks have not been allowed deep into the country since 1982. Some Critics say the one-year experiment to test the free-trade measure will unleash a flood of dangerous trucks. It would, the critics say, increase illegal immigration and drug smuggling and threaten to expose the country to terrorists and endanger others on the roadway.
Opening the border to trucks was a key part of the North American Free Trade Agreement inked in 1994. The trucks were supposed to be delivering international cargo seven years ago. Under the trade pact, certified Mexican trucks can carry loads anywhere in the United States but can pick up loads only if they are bound for Mexico. The converse applies to U.S. trucks. That was the arrangement before 1982. Since then, Mexican trucks have operated within a 25-mile commercial zone along the border. There, they transfer loads to U.S. trucks. Last year, 4.5 million trucks crossed north over the border, mostly through Texas in the border towns of Laredo, Eagle Pass, McAllen and El Paso.
The provision opening the United States to Mexican long-haul trucking was called for under NAFTA, but it was delayed by resistance from some trucking and environmental groups. Under a one-year pilot program, as many as 100 Mexican trucking companies vetted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at the Department of Transportation will be allowed to travel beyond the 25-mile commercial border zone. The program also clears American truckers to operate anywhere in Mexico.
In 2006 alone, more than 3.2 million trucks crossed the Mexican border through Texas, according to the Federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics. This ruling and new rule may cause more accidents in Texas by Mexican Truckers.
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