It doesn’t appear this program will hold Mexican truckers to the higher standards of the U.S. trucking industry, and this could lead to senseless accidents on our roads, including in the Northeast.
Scranton, PA (PRWEB) September 09, 2011
Pennsylvania personal injury attorney Daniel W. Munley says a recent legal move by the Teamsters union to block a cross-border trucking program with Mexico reflect safety concerns shared by trucking accident lawyers across the country.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the non-profit group Public Citizen have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco against the U.S. Department of Transportation. The action seeks to halt a three-year program that will allow long-haul Mexican carriers to operate in the U.S.
“When the Obama administration announced in July that it would be going ahead with this program, we became immediately alarmed about the danger it would create for the travelling public,” says Munley, an experienced Pennsylvania tractor-trailer accident lawyer and national chair of the American Association for Justice’s Trucking Litigation Group (TLG).
“It doesn’t appear this program will hold Mexican truckers to the higher standards of the U.S. trucking industry, and this could lead to senseless accidents on our roads, including in the Northeast,” Munley says. “The DOT needs to reconsider this program and put safety first.”
Munley notes that safety concerns have surrounded cross-border trucking with Mexico since the arrangement was called for in the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, because of retaliatory tariffs that Mexico has slapped on American products, U.S. officials have worked to find ways to allow Mexican trucks into the U.S.
Under the Bush administration, a pilot program was launched that resulted in no accidents. However, Munley points out that not enough Mexican trucks and drivers participated in the program to produce valid statistics.
Also, Munley says, eight percent (or 1 in 12) of the Mexican trucks and drivers that participated in that pilot program were removed from service due to violations that made them unsafe for American roads.
“What will the numbers look like when there are an unlimited number of Mexican tractor-trailers on American’s highways?” Munley says.
Munley says he also is concerned that expanded Mexican trucking will drive down the wages paid to American drivers, which could result in them putting more hours behind the road in order to earn the same amount of money.
Under current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules, drivers’ hours of service are limited to 14 hours on duty per 24 hours, with a maximum of 11 hours of actual driving.
“These rules are in place because experience has taught us that more time behind the wheel causes fatigue and diminishes reaction times and mental alertness,” Munley says. “Our concern is that, without increasing outside monitoring, there will be more fatigued, reckless drivers and more attempts at hiding the additional hours.”
Munley’s law firm, Munley, Munley & Cartwright, P.C., has secured substantial verdicts and settlements on behalf of personal injury and wrongful death victims throughout Pennsylvania and the Northeast U.S. He says that it’s important to contact an experienced attorney immediately following a crash with a tractor-trailer, whether it is an American or foreign carrier.
“Because of the need to preserve evidence, it’s important to have a tractor-trailer accident litigation team on the scene right away,” Munley says. “If the accident resulted from the negligence of the driver or trucking company, victims and their families have rights to compensation that must be protected.”
About Munley, Munley & Cartwright, P.C.
Munley, Munley & Cartwright, P.C., is a Pennsylvania truck accident law firm that represents tractor trailer accident victims throughout the country, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The firm has an extensive record of successful verdicts and settlements, and its truck accident attorneys have been nationally recognized for their expertise in state and federal trucking regulations. To learn more about the firm’s truck accident litigation team, call (800) 318-LAW1 or use its online form.