GRAIN VALLEY, Mo., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters stood alongside business interests and attempted to use economic threats to scare lawmakers into supporting a pilot program to allow Mexico-based trucking companies and truck drivers to operate on highways throughout the United States. "It's a sad attempt at economic fear mongering," said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. "Despite their lip service, they well know the pilot program is outside of the law." The association contends the economic interests of a few have been placed above the safety and security of many. "The Secretary seems to be encouraging Mexico to step in and help the Bush Administration force this down the throats of Americans," said Spencer. "Where does she get off encouraging Mexico to impose fees and tariffs on U.S. goods?" Spencer finds humor in the Secretary's contention that the pilot program presents U.S.-based truckers with a "promise of prosperity." "Safety standards in Mexico simply are not on par with those here, and few U.S. trucking companies even appear interested in going south," added Spencer. "The program is being spun as a solution to a problem that doesn't exist." "The program is supposed to work both ways across the border, and yet there are few signing up on either side," said Spencer. "Big businesses want the cheap labor, but for a number of reasons trucking companies on both sides of the border don't want to get involved." "Reality is the program goes against U.S. law and is not required by NAFTA," continued Spencer. "The panel required the U.S. to allow Mexican trucks into the country under the same rules that apply to their American counterparts. The DOT is accepting Mexican licenses, drug testing and medical certification laws in place of U.S. laws governing those subjects. These exemptions from domestic laws are not required by NAFTA and clearly violate U.S. law." The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more 161,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, MO, area.
SOURCE Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association