Nov. 27, 2001, Grain
Valley, MO - The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)
voiced its endorsement today of the analysis prepared by the law firm Dewey
Ballantine, demonstrating that Senate legislation on cross-border trucking
does not violate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The following statement
was delivered by OOIDA Executive Vice-President Todd Spencer at a press conference
at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.
"Since the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11, the enforcement of border entry and immigration rules
has become a top national security priority. These important issues are inseparable
from any proposal to allow Mexican trucks into our country. Under the current
DOT proposal, all a driver would need to come into our country across the
Mexican border is a Mexican commercial driver's license.
"This is troubling
for two reasons: First, it is very easy to obtain a Mexican license, both
legitimately and illegitimately. Second, no system is in place that allows
our border enforcement personnel to check the validity of a Mexican license.
For these reasons, it would be relatively easy for someone of any nationality,
with less than honorable intentions, to use a Mexican license as a free pass
into our country behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound vehicle.
"It should not be
argued that NAFTA requires us to compromise our national security or highway
safety. As the just-released Dewey Ballantine paper correctly restates, the
NAFTA agreement allows the United States to pursue "its legitimate objectives
of safety or the protection of human...life or health..." by establishing
"the levels of protection that it considers appropriate...
amendment is the most realistic set of protections yet offered to address
the safety and security issues raised by the opening of the border to Mexican
trucks. In one provision pertaining specifically to my comments, the Murray-Shelby
amendment requires that a system be in place to allow all state and federal
border inspectors to verify electronically the legitimacy of each Mexican
CDL and requires them to do so upon each entry of a Mexican truck. This provision
is the minimum protection we need to ensure that Mexican licenses are not
used as a license to allow unqualified truckers or potential terrorists into
"On behalf of our
members working right now on every American highway, we encourage the conferees
to adopt, and the president to sign, the sensible provisions of the Murray-Shelby
Visit http://www.ttd.org for a copy of the Dewey