The Teamsters Union lauded the U.S. House of Representatives for overwhelmingly passing a bill that would halt the Bush administration's pilot program to open U.S. highways to Mexican trucks until U.S. safety and security standards are met. The vote was 411-3.
"This important bill ensures that the American traveling public is protected," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "The Bush administration can no longer ignore Congress and the American people on this important safety and security issue."
The "Safe American Roads Act of 2007" would force Transportation Secretary Mary Peters to only allow Mexican trucks to travel freely in the United States under a strictly monitored pilot program, which would be limited to three years and 1,000 trucks. It also would require the program to pass muster with Congress, the Transportation Department inspector general and an independent panel.
"The Bush administration has given us sketchy information about its plans to throw open our borders to unsafe Mexican trucks," Hoffa said. "We don't know how safety laws such as hours of service and drug testing would be enforced. This vote by the House repudiates those questionable attempts to open our borders without adequate safeguards."
The bill also would require the Transportation Department to disclose:
- Safety records of Mexican trucking companies;
- Standards for evaluating truck safety;
- Which carriers are part of the program;
- Mechanisms for enforcing trucking safety laws;
- Penalties for non-compliance.