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A New Threat to Austin: More Trucking Accidents?

We’ve written extensively about the dangers posed by the trucking industry.  We have prior posts on truckers admitting rules violations, two national reports about the dangers of trucking accidents, and a series from the Dallas Morning News about Texas trucking accidents.

But now, there are new concerns about trucking safety.  Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, US and Mexican truckers were supposed to be able to drive in each country with minimal limits.  But up to now, Mexican trucks have been limited to driving 25 miles into the US, and US trucks have been prohibited from entering Mexico at all.  That may change.  Starting this Saturday, September 1st, a new pilot program is supposed to allow many Mexican trucking companies more extensive privileges to drive on US Highways.  Although the National Transportation and Safety Board says these trucks will be inspected from headlight to taillight, we have serious reservations about the agency’s ability to enforce regulations on the existing US fleet, much less examining the countless additional Mexican trucks that will be showing up on the roads.

This should be a particular concern to those of us in Austin and Central Texas.  Interstate 35 is a main artery for trade to travel from the border in Laredo up through Texas and into the rest of the country.  Frankly, the prospect of even more (and perhaps less-safe) trucks driving through downtown Austin is frightening.

To hear a story from National Public Radio about the new agreement, click on the link.

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