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Good News, Bad News At Mexican Border

March 17, 1999

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The Arizona Republic newspaper reports that a lot of Mexican truck drivers are trying to come across the border into Arizona with fake commercial driver’s licenses – but a lot of the Mexican equipment is improving.

In an article last week, the paper reported that a spot check at the Nogales crossing over the last six months has documented more than 100 drivers using false licenses. On the other hand, state safety inspector Richard Saspe said many Mexican companies have cleaned up their act when it comes to unsafe equipment. At many companies, gone are the days when brakes that worked were a luxury, tires were bald and brake lights were dark.
Nevertheless, there are still plenty of unsafe Mexican trucks coming into the country. Federal inspectors in Nogales say about 50% of trucks inspected crossing the U.S. border are ordered out of service for serious safety violations, compared to a 25% rate for U.S. trucks. Of the about 800 trucks that pass through the Nogales port of entry each day, only about one in 30 gets inspected.
According to the paper, Mexican officials say the out-of-service rate is artificially high because safety inspectors repeatedly target the small number of trucks that make the local runs from Nogales, Sonora, in Mexico, to warehouses just north of Nogales, AZ. They point out that these trucks would not be used to transport cargoes over long distances in the U.S. if the border is opened under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement. (That opening has been delayed indefinitely for the last several years.)
To read the whole Arizona Republic story, visit http://www.azcentral.com/news/0310trucks.shtml.

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