It is amazing that, with unemployment unacceptably high, the Obama administration has endorsed a plan that will cost U.S. jobs and make highway driving for Americans more dangerous and less pleasant. Barack Obama wants to admit Mexican trucks to drive on all U.S. highways and roads.
Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, explained what this means: "U.S. truckers would be forced to forfeit their own economic opportunities, while companies and drivers from Mexico, free from equivalent regulatory burdens, take over their traffic lanes." We wonder if Mexico has any regulatory standards at all.
Mexican trucks are known to be overweight and lacking in safety regulations we consider essential, such as anti-lock brakes. Mexico doesn't have national databases that track drivers' records, background checks, drug usage and arrests, and it's known to be easy to get a commercial driver's license with a bribe.
Nevertheless, Obama's transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, has announced he wants to admit Mexican trucks, and he thinks he can appease Congress by presenting on Jan. 6 what he calls a "concept document." It is two pages of bureaucratic pablum that does nothing to assure the safety of Americans on our highways and roads.
The concept document calls for a "review" of the Mexican carriers' safety program, the driving records of Mexican drivers admitted to the program, and inspection of Mexican trucks for safety and emissions. But the document says nothing about what the standard of review and inspection will be, and whether trucks and drivers who don't pass inspection will be rejected.
Under the concept document, Mexican trucks would be subject to border inspections at the "normal border inspection rate," and subject to inspections within the U.S. "at the same rate as U.S. companies." That doesn't reassure us. The "normal" border inspection rate means that only a few violators will get caught, which the Mexicans will consider just a cost of doing business, and the notion that Mexican drivers need inspection only at the 50 percent U.S. rate is ridiculous.
U.S. law requires truck drivers to speak and understand the English language. The concept document says it will "conduct an English Language Proficiency" test of each Mexican driver, but it doesn't say the Mexican drivers must speak English or pass the test.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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