Reps. Peter DeFazio, Peter King Lead Bipartisan Letter Pushing to Keep American Highways Safe from Mexican Trucks
Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Peter King (NY-02) today led a bipartisan group of two dozen Members in sending a letter to U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer supporting U.S. negotiators’ proposed solution to long-standing highway safety issues in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Currently, Mexican trucking companies that obtain authority from the U.S. Department of Transportation are permitted to operate long-haul in the United States beyond the zones at the U.S.–Mexico border. The rules for hours of service, commercial drivers licensing, and drug and alcohol testing in Mexico are not the same as U.S. standards, making it more difficult to disqualify unsafe drivers and to ensure they are not fatigued when they cross the border.
As the United States renegotiates NAFTA, Reps. DeFazio and King and their colleagues from both sides of the aisle have encouraged U.S. negotiators to prioritize the safety of Americans traveling our nation’s highways and the long-haul truckers with whom they share the road.
During the fourth round of talks, U.S. negotiators proposed a solution which anticipates a role for Congress to craft new statutory and regulatory standards that will protect everyone traveling on U.S. interstate highways.
This long-standing issue comes down to one thing: protecting Americans’ safety on our highways. Lawmakers commend USTR’s efforts to find a solution and encourage them to stand firm against inevitable resistance to necessary change.
In the letter, the members wrote, “…we stand ready, in the spirit of “fair trade” bipartisanship, to work with your office and the Department of Transportation to meet the challenge of a modernized NAFTA. We commit to working together on a new and comprehensive legislative approach that will safeguard families on our interstate highways as well as the American long-haul operators who make their living transporting cargo and containers beyond the border commercial zones and into the American heartland.”
To see a PDF version of the letter, click here.