DOT Proposes Rules for Mexican Carriers

New rules proposed for the operation of trucks from Mexico in the US require carriers to file detailed information with US authorities. The information must show that Mexican carriers are in compliance with US safety regulations and must provide details about safety practices. Within 18 months after filing, US officials would check the documents for accuracy. All Mexican trucks operating in the US would be required to register with the Mexican ministry of transportation.

Trucks from Mexico operating in the US will be subject to safety inspections at border crossings and during spot checks at roadside locations. The Bush administration has proposed $88 million in its budget for inspection facilities and for safety inspectors.

The Teamsters union, which has opposed operation of Mexican trucks in the US, continues to oppose the new rules. Under the original NAFTA treaty, trucks from Mexico were to have unlimited access to highways in the four border states by 1995 and be allowed to operate throughout the US by 2000. Reacting to union pressure, the Clinton administration refused to implement that part of the treaty. Currently, Mexican trucks can operate only in commercial zones around border crossings. In consequence, an arbitration panel has ruled the US in violation of the treaty.

The proposed rules will be open for comment until July 2, 2001. A final rule is expected by year-end.

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