Independent Truckers Applaud NAFTA Trucking Letter

Apr 14, 2010, 14:34 ET from Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

Mexico trucking provisions should be removed from trade pact

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo., April 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The largest trade association representing small business truckers and professional drivers is applauding a letter sent today by U.S. Rep Peter DeFazio (D–OR) and 77 other U.S. lawmakers to Obama administration officials.  The letter calls for the administration to start the process of removing cross-border trucking provisions with Mexico from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"Every year, U.S. truckers are burdened with new safety, security and environmental regulations. Those regulations come with considerable compliance costs," said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).

"Mexico's regulatory standards and enforcement on trucks aren't even remotely equivalent to what we have here. To open the border at this time is insanity from both an economic standpoint and safety," Spencer continued.

As noted in DeFazio's letter, there has been no comprehensive independent review to assess whether Mexico's trucking standards and driver licensing and safety rules are equivalent to the requirements of the United States. In addition to the disparity in regulatory standards and compliance costs, the Association contends that unanswered questions remain not only about the overall safety, but also about the crime and security implications of giving Mexico-based trucks unfettered access to the United States.

"Commercial vehicles crossing the southern border are still the principal way drug trafficking organizations get their products into the U.S.," noted Spencer. "Providing Mexico-domiciled truckers with access throughout America will amplify existing vulnerabilities and will surely be exploited by criminal enterprises as well as terrorist organizations."

For decades, Mexico has refused to raise regulatory standards on its own trucking industry.

"Congressman DeFazio and the other lawmakers should be applauded for this letter and for their ongoing efforts to keep our highways safe and our nation secure," said Spencer.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 156,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo., area.

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SOURCE Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association