Danger On East TN Roadways?

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) The feds call it the next step in free trade.

Critics claim it'll be the first step in harboring illegal immigrants, and weakening our borders.

Tomorrow, a test group of Mexican trucks, and truckers will have free run of our country's roadways for a year.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd has more on what it could mean for this
cross-roads of the mid-south.

We may be too far north to see very many of these trucks.

A lot depends on the hauler, and the load.

But critics claim that language may be the least of the barriers this border battle may test.

Typically, the Watt Road scales weigh in 25 hundred truckers a day.

But when Scotty Johnson weighs in on Mexican truckers joining

"I don't think it's a good idea myself. It's just hard for them to understand English, and if they don't understand English, it's hard for them to go by our rules."

Captain J.R. Bridgeman with the Tennessee Highway Patrol says, "they have to meet the same standards that Americans have to meet."

Bridgeman says the feds have pre-screened which trucks and truckers can cross the border.

Pre-certified means proving you can read, write and speak English.

And meet our country's safety and inspection standards.

Capt. Bridgeman continues, "as far as log book, medical cards license, alcohol use and drug use and all of that."

Todd Spencer says, "there's no drug or alcohol testing in Mexico, no system to to it. You can inspect a truck, but we have no faith, there is no credibility in the licensing system in Mexico."

The Independent Drivers Association, the Teamsters, even some
trucking companies, insist the battle's about more than undercutting
them on wages and costs, it compromises safety.

Spencer continues, "they have no hours of service regulations that U.S. drivers have to comply with. The administration has they'll comply with them while they're here, but a driver could be seven days straight when he got to the border, we wouldn't know the difference."

Captain Bridgeman says federal regulators have gone to Mexico, to prep trucking companies and drivers on our rules and regs.

The Highway Patrol can, and will, he says, do full inspections
if the Security cams or scales spot something suspicious.

"It is incumbent upon us troopers, part of our duties, to make sure that truck is safe, and operated in a safe manner no matter what nationality is operating it."

NAFTA had guaranteed open trucking.

But both presidents Clinton and Bush had exempted Mexico over pressures that its trucks and trucking regs weren't up to standard.

The test group covers 100 companies and 1,000 truckers, small enough, the feds insist, not to overload inspectors.

But critics again, insist this could open us up to greater security threats.

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  • by dean Location: bean station tn on Oct 23, 2007 at 08:31 PM
    they say in mexico go to morristown tennessee we have maps i beleave it we have one half of them and more is coming need to start to sending them home enough is enough
  • by Chris Location: home on Sep 7, 2007 at 04:50 AM
    This is only the beginning. There are plans to build a super highway directly thrugh America's mid section to facilitate these trucks. You want to oppose this? Write your Senators and Congressmen and don't forget President Bush. Does no good to gripe with each other. Makes your voice count. Go to the source.
  • by L.N. Location: Tennessee on Sep 6, 2007 at 02:29 PM
    What is with the government, by letting the this happen. They talk about sending the illegal Mexicoians back. Now they are going to let them drive on our roadways and their laws in Mexico are different than ours. Our roadways are damagous already with them, with them it will be worse.
  • by Kim Location: Maryville on Sep 6, 2007 at 01:57 PM
    When is it enough?! Unless I'm mistaken, the Statue of Liberty says to give us your tired, hungry and poor..not your lazy, lawless, and leaching! It's bad enough that we send most of our business there (thus taking away american jobs..welcome well-fare, and low income struggling families, only in return to get poor qulity goods,)and that busineses-especially construction-would rather hire 20 mexicans, then two good, honest americans because it's cheaper (again, jobs and quality,) and how is it that a woman with the same social security number can have 9 children in one year (coincidentally, she's mexcian,) and how is it that a mexican can steal,rape,murder,a nd have traffic accidents, and there's no punishment? Let me guess, no habla english! If you allow this insanity, you may as well forget border patrol, drug traffic control, and highway safety, not to mention, again, taking away jobs from good, honest, hardworking americans. By the way, who is this going to pad in congress?
  • by Stuart Location: Pigeon Forge on Sep 6, 2007 at 10:50 AM
    American truck driivers need to speak and understand English in order to get a Commercial Drivers License. Why should they be exempt.
  • by DinTN Location: Tennessee on Sep 6, 2007 at 06:09 AM
    I want to know WHAT is in Mexico that is so important that it has to be hauled into the US from Mexico? What goods are we buying from Mexico or is it products coming from our outsourced US jobs?
  • by Misty Location: Madisonville on Sep 5, 2007 at 10:19 PM
    I can't believe this! Our laws are a joke!
  • by Jaime Mills Location: Tennessee on Sep 5, 2007 at 10:07 PM
    I don't understand why they have to come here to drive, and will our inspectors really keep their eyes on them?
  • by lela Location: lenoir city tn on Sep 5, 2007 at 08:31 PM
    What is our government thinking? This vcan only spell trouble. Our country is already over run with illegals and this will open the door for more to be smuggled in! This is not to mention drug traffic.One year is long enough for a lot of damage to be done. It makes you wonder just who is minding the store. On one hand you hear all the talk about guarding our borders more closely then you hear something like this.


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