In February 2001, a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) tribunal ruled that the U.S. has been violating the terms of NAFTA because it has limited access of Mexican trucks to a 20-mile commercial zone along the border. NAFTA, which took effect in 1994, 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 the narrow border zone.
Public Citizen analyses have found that Mexico's truck inspection system is riddled with holes that allow vehicles with major safety defects to stay on the road. In addition, federal studies have shown that Mexican trucks are three times more likely to have safety deficiencies than U.S. trucks.
Public Citizen supports legislation to require on-site inspections of Mexico-domiciled carriers; add inspection facilities, equipment and inspectors to the border crossings; and ensure that Mexican truckers comply with all U.S. safety requirements, including rules governing how long truckers may drive without rest.