Thursday, October 13, 2011

DOT halts 1st Mexican truck due to safety concerns

Whoa! The U.S. Department of Transportation backed off letting the first Mexican truck into the country -- even after its own inspectors okayed it -- because it isn't safe.

Teamsters and allies complained to the DOT that the carrier it approved for a cross-border pilot program is a fly-by-night Tijuana operation with one semi-tractor trailer junker that the U.S. designated a "gross polluter."

Jeff Plungis at Bloomberg News has the get:
The U.S. Transportation Department is delaying the first permit for a Mexican trucking company to start cross-border operations, citing safety questions raised in public comments.
Grupo Behr de Baja California SA de CV, which passed a preliminary Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration inspection Sept. 12, won’t be able to drive in the U.S. until regulators review objections of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the agency said in a Federal Register notice to be published tomorrow.
Here's what Teamsters General President Hoffa said about it:
The U.S. Transportation Department was right in heeding our safety concerns and delaying the first permit to operate trucks from Mexico freely throughout the United States. We are glad that transportation officials are now taking our concerns seriously.
We will continue our fight to keep our borders closed to unsafe Mexican trucks. After years of litigation, intense congressional oversight, overwhelming public opposition and an intense drug war raging in Mexico, it is a reckless move to allow Mexico unfettered access to our highways.

The fly-by-night Tijuana operator passed a preliminary inspection last month -- a colossal bungling by transportation officials. The carrier has one unsafe, 20-year-old semi-tractor trailer that our government designated a ‘gross polluter.’ If this is the cream of the crop of Mexican operators, we can only imagine what will be crossing our border in the future.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration clearly ignored Congress in conducting inspections that didn't meet the legal requirements. The Teamsters Union and our allies have filed a lawsuit to stop this illegal and dangerous cross-border trucking program before people get hurt.
This delay proves what we've been saying all along: Opening the border to dangerous Mexican trucks is not in the interest of Americans. It will cost thousands of truck and warehouse jobs that we so desperately need, it will undermine border security, it will pollute our air and it will harm the driving public.