SPECIAL REPORT: DOT inspection of Mexican truck a ‘diversion’

| 10/17/2007

Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007 – A press conference in Washington, DC, reportedly staged to demonstrate the safety of Mexican trucks crossing the border into the U.S. is nothing more than a “diversion” according to OOIDA.

Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez staged a press conference in Washington, DC, this afternoon, along with Luis Tellez, Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transportation.

Two trucks were inspected during the press conference, one from Mexico and one from the U.S.

The Mexican truck came from Transportes Olympic, one of the first companies admitted to the DOT’s controversial cross-border trucking pilot program.

The DOT claims the point of the press conference was to demonstrate the safety of the Mexican trucks and to urge Congress to stop its efforts to halt the pilot program.

“We want to demonstrate to Congress that tough safety standards and rigorous inspections work and that trucks participating in this program will have the same features, the same upkeep, and the same commitment to safety that any U.S. truck has,” Peters said in a DOT press release.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association doesn’t believe for one second the staged inspections prove anything.

“Akin to a magician’s pretty assistant distracting an audience from what he is up to, this is just another attempt by DOT to divert attention away from the program’s deficiencies,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

“It’s a sleight of hand that shows nothing. There are very real safety and security problems that still exist.”

The Association contends the DOT officials still have not shown how they will effectively deal with safety and security issues. These include thorough background checks and drug testing, as well as enforcement of regulatory issues such as hours of service and cabotage, not just at the border, but especially as Mexican-domiciled trucks operate throughout the United States.

“They can’t even do that with trucks in the U.S., let alone every single truck that is bound to cross the border,” added Spencer. “Illusionists are able to make you think you are seeing something that is not there, and that’s exactly what they’re attempting today.”

– By Jami Jones, senior editor