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Larry Donaldson On The Liability Of Mexican Commercial Drivers

April 8, 2007

Sometime in the very near future we may be seeing a large number of trucks from Mexico transporting goods to and from manufacturers in the United States. This is all part of the North American Free Trade Agreement. While I am not against free trade, I think it is very dangerous to have trucks entering the U.S. that are driven by questionable drivers.

The commercial drivers being licensed in America have to go through rigorous training, are subject to background checks and are periodically tested for drugs on a random basis. There is no proof that our counterparts in Mexico have the same restrictions. As it stands right now, the drivers from Mexico are only allowed to drive approximately twenty five miles to a drop point across the border. What is amazing is that their trucks can even make it to the border.

We need to ask ourselves a few hard questions. Do we want these trucks on our already crowded highways? If one of these drivers happen to have an accident and run over a bus load of school children will they be prosecuted or will they hide back in their home country? Will the Mexican drivers be held to the same laws that their American counterparts are? How will we know that they have had ample rest when they cross the border?

We may find out the questions to these and others the hard way. I personally do not want think about the consequences of an errant driver that follows all of the rules, let alone one that most likely does not.

There is some legislation in Congress to help alleviate this pilot program for Mexican trucks. The NAFTA Trucking Safety Act-HR1756 was introduced on March 29, 2007, and The Safe Roads Act-HR1773 was introduced on March 30, 2007. Both of these were introduced as stand alone bills, but they were included in the Defense Spending bill that President Bush should and likely will veto. We need congress to pass these two bills and put a halt to have untrained drivers come into our country to create more havoc than necessary.

On April 23, 24 and 25 there will be a rally in Washington, D.C. and also the state capitols around the country explaining the impact these foreign trucks will not only have on our safety, but it may also have a negative effect on our economy from the decreased wages these drivers earn. To further educate your self on the pilot program you can go to Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration for the full details.

Larry Donaldson 301 Spring StDarlington, SC 29532

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