AUGUST 26, 2011
Weeks before the Obama Administration starts letting Mexican cargo trucks travel deep into the U.S., the Texas Department of Public Safety reveals that, in the last few years, trucks coming from Mexico had more than 1 million safety violations.This is hardly earth-shattering news since Mexican trucks have long failed to meet U.S. safety standards. That’s why they aren’t allowed to travel freely throughout the country, but rather in restricted zones within 25 miles of the southern border. Even within their limited boundary, they have created a huge risk to Americans’ safety, according to the Transportation Department Inspector General.Regardless, the Obama Administration carved out a deal to allow Mexican trucks to travel freely on U.S. highways as part of a 17-year-old international trade pact known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In a few weeks Mexican trucks will be allowed to travel into the interior of the United States, even though it could endanger American lives.In Texas alone, 1.2 million Mexican trucks had safety violations between 2007 and 2011, according to an El Paso newspaper report that quotes official statistics from state public safety officials. Among the safety violations in trucks coming from Mexico were bad brakes, flat tires, axle problems and defective lights. During that period inspectors placed more than 30,000 trucks and 625 drivers out of service.Federal transportation officials claim that, under the new cross-border trucking program, all Mexican vehicles will be thoroughly inspected and all must comply with rigid U.S. safety standards. The Mexican trucks, notorious for their dismal, third-world country safety standards, must also be equipped with electronic monitoring systems to keep track of drivers’ service hours.Don’t be surprised if U.S. taxpayers get stuck with the tab. After all, earlier this year the Obama Administrationpaid to upgrade outdated Mexican trucks that hemorrhage illegal amounts of exhaust when they deliver merchandise near the border. Generous Uncle Sam stepped in for the sake of improving air quality on both sides of the border by replacing old mufflers on dozens of Mexican trucks at a cost of $1,600 each. U.S. truck drivers are required to have the type of converters that Mexicans are getting from the government but they must pay for theirs.
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