Eased trucking regulations under scrutiny

sportsou

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Mexican trucks will begin rolling onto American highways in 60 days, despite warnings from critics that the endeavor is fraught with safety risks, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said Thursday.

Peters vowed that all Mexican trucks entering the United States under a limited pilot program will be subject to tough regulations - including license checks and drug tests - that will be closely monitored.

Mexican truckers in the program also will not be allowed to make domestic deliveries, will not be allowed to carry hazardous materials and will be checked for insurance, she said.

"I am convinced we have a situation that can be implemented safely," Peters said in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee's transportation panel.

The Bush administration last month announced the test program in which an unlimited number of trucks from 100 selected Mexican companies will be permitted to haul freight into the American heartland.

If it is successful, the trial will pave the way for full cross-border truck access that the U.S. and Mexico agreed to when they signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1992.

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