From CNS news, via the Associated Press, just today:
The first Mexican carrier is set to roll into the U.S. interior within days, but American trucking union leaders and two California congressmen aren't giving up on stopping the cross-border trucking program. … Washington on Friday approved the first Mexican trucking company, Transportes Olympic, fulfilling a provision under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
My initial reaction is, …unprintable. Having made more trips to Laredo than I can count in the last 8 years, and having seen the quality of the trucks and the drivers that venture into the free trade zone in the Laredo area, I shudder to think what will happen when these substandard, rattle-trapped, smoke-belching dirt bombs start driving throughout the US. You see, many of our major and medium sized trucking companies sell their old, outdated, and disintegrating trucks to companies south of the border, after which the Mexican companies use them to haul freight back into the border ports.
Then there are the drivers. In Laredo, they pass me on the right, where there is no lane, with their right tires up on the sidewalk. They turn left from the right lane, right from the left lane, make u-turns into on-coming traffic, drive 80,000 pound vehicles as if they were dune buggies, eschew turn signals and brake lights, and run each other off the road entirely. They drive as if they are in a third world country, where the rules are suspended. Unless there is a whole different breed of professional driver in Mexico that is totally different from the non-English speaking, careless, half-dazed rejects that I see in Laredo, …and unless said driver is piloting a totally different kind of truck from what I see in places like Laredo, this is going to be very ugly.
As an added bonus, American truckers will ostensibly now be allowed to take their comparatively expensive and meticulously well-maintained trucks into Mexico, where they will be looked after by the Mexican authorities. And in a related news flash, I'm going on the record right here and now that I for one will do no such thing. Period. Fighting for one's country is one thing, and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. But putting oneself in that kind of jeopardy to bring a load of widgets south of the border would be sheer lunacy. I hope I'm wrong about all this,..but I fear I'm not.
(Photo from USA Today)