NAFTA and Mexican Trucks

Adequate inspection stations and inspectors should be in place all along the border before Mexico-based trucks are allowed full access to U.S. highways

In spite of efforts by safety groups and members of Congress to delay allowing Mexico-based trucks full access to the U.S., the Bush Administration on January 7, 2008, announced it would continue to approve carrier access under a pilot program.  The announcement was a slap at Congress, which earlier passed an Omnibus Appropriations Bill that cut off all funding for the pilot program. To date, 57 Mexican Carriers have been given full access to U.S. highways under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Safety groups are concerned that Mexican-based trucks are likely to be more dangerous than U.S. trucks because Mexican inspection systems are more lax. They argue there are not enough border inspection systems in place to identify these trucks before they get on U.S. roads. 


NAFTA took effect in 1994. The agreement required the U.S. to allow Mexican trucks access to all border-state roads starting in 1995, and to drive anywhere in the country by January 2000. The Clinton administration recognized the danger the trucks posed and for seven years refused to expand their access beyond a narrow border zone. In February 2001, a NAFTA tribunal ruled this limitation was in violation of the NAFTA pact. The Bush Administration began allowing some Mexican trucking companies' full access to U.S. roads in 2006 under a controversial pilot program. Public Citizen and the Sierra Club were among several groups that sued the DOT in 2007 in an attempt to block the pilot program.

Putting the Brakes on Unsafe Trucking Companies