The Teamsters filed a lawsuit recently to block what the union said is an unannounced government plan to open the southern border to long-haul Mexican truck traffic Sept. 1, The San Diego Union-Tribune
reports. The Bush administration transportation officials are not saying publicly when they expect to begin a long-delayed pilot program to test the safety of Mexican trucks on U.S. highways. But in a lawsuit filed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Jonathan Weissglass, an attorney representing the Teamsters, said he was told by a Justice Department official that the program will start Sept. 1. The Teamsters and other opponents, including other trucking and safety organizations, say Mexican truckers would pose a danger on U.S. highways. They argue that Mexican truckers are not subject to the same driving standards, drug and alcohol testing and law enforcement as U.S. drivers. U.S. Transportation Department officials said they have developed a “rigorous safety inspection plan” requiring Mexican truck drivers in the program to meet the same standards as U.S. truckers. Officials say Mexican drivers who have been allowed to travel in a limited, 25-mile zone in the United States have compiled a safety record superior to that of U.S. truck drivers. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune
, under the program, up to 100 Mexican carriers that pass inspections conducted by U.S. officials would be allowed to send trucks into the United States in a one-year demonstration. The plan also allows for U.S. truck drivers to cross into Mexico.