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US Congress Approves Safety Bill For Mexican Trucks - 2001-11-30


The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation requiring that Mexican trucks meet tough new safety requirements to operate in the United States. The measure was included in a $60 billion transportation bill that passed by a 371 to 11 vote.

The measure is a compromise between lawmakers and the Bush administration.

The House in June voted to ban Mexican trucks from full access to U.S. highways because of safety concerns. Two months later, the Senate voted to allow the trucks in, but only after they met certain standards.

Labor unions and safety groups lobbied for blocking the trucks, while business groups pressed to allow their entry.

President Bush had threatened to veto any legislation that violated the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which joined the United States, Canada and Mexico in a free trade zone. NAFTA allows trucking across the borders of the three countries within reasonable safety restrictions.

The compromise measure allows Mexican trucks full access to U.S. highways but under tougher safety inspection requirements than Mr. Bush initially sought.

The bill requires electronic verification of the licenses of drivers of all Mexican trucks carrying hazardous cargo, and half of all other Mexican truck drivers. Equipment to weigh trucks will be required only at the busiest border crossings.

The Senate has yet to approve the measure, which will then go to President Bush for his signature.

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