Mexican long-haul trucking companies were given increased access to Texas highways by the free trade treaty signed in 1993 between the United States and Mexico. The trans-border trucking program was intended to ease trucking shipments between Mexico and the United States. The program was halted because of safety issues with the trucks and drivers from Mexico. In 2007 a small pilot project that was intended to give a small number of Mexican carriers access to Texas highways attempted to show that trucks and drivers from Mexico would not endanger drivers within the United States.
Until Mexico can establish that Mexican authorities maintain safety records on their trucks and drivers these trucks should not be allowed on our roads and highways. The United States Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Public Safety have vigorous licensing requirements for trucking companies and commercial drivers. The Texas Department of Public Safety suspends commercial drivers licenses if a commercial operator commits various traffic offenses – even if in their personal vehicles. In the United States truck drivers are required to maintain logs to show that they are not driving while fatigued. Failure to maintain the proper logs and keep a commercial vehicle properly maintained can result in driving privileges being suspended or the imposition of large fines.
Eighteen Wheeler (18) accidents occur too frequently and cause tremendous personal injury to Texas drivers even without an onslaught of truckers from Mexico.
If an accident is caused in Texas by a trucking company that is based in the United States it will likely have sufficient insurance to compensate an injured person. Furthermore, if the driver of the U.S. based company failed to maintain the proper logs or failed to maintain his vehicle the injured party will be able to use those deficiencies against the driver and the trucking company. However, if the accident is caused by trucking companies based in Mexico it will cause many logistical problems and will likely make any recovery more difficult to obtain and collect.
On March 16, 2009 Mexico threatened to impose tariffs on 90 products from the United States in retaliation for the cancellation of the program that allowed the Mexican Trucks to ship throughout the U.S. Because of the enormous risks imposed by eighteen wheeler accidents the United States should not let Mexican trucks on our roads until it can be established that they safe and that its drivers have training comparable to that of U.S. drivers. Because of the threat of life-altering injuries and death that can be caused by these huge tractor-trailers, we would also suggest that the minimum limit of liability insurance for companies operating commercial trucking ventures in the United States be raised to $5,000,000.00 for injury or death caused by a negligent driver or negligent carrier.