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US and Mexico resolve trucking dispute, but how will it affect US roads?

Security experts differ on whether tractor-trailer truck safety breaches within Mexico will mean the problem will spill over into the United States.

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US teamsters have long warned that inviting Mexican 18-wheel rigs onto American highways was like giving a free pass to violent drug traffickers to smuggle their goods across the border.

But the United States signed a deal anyway with Mexico on Wednesday allowing Mexican long-haul trucks to deliver their goods deep into US territory.

The decision to finally fulfill an international trade agreement struck 15 years ago raised the usual alarm bells by US trucking organizations. Teamster General President Jim Hoffa said that apart from robbing jobs from American drivers, the deal “ignores the rampant corruption among Mexican law enforcement” and “rampant drug violence.”

The question remains whether the border crossing of Mexican trucks will result in unsafe conditions on US roads.

Conditions inside Mexico have deteriorated as drug-related violence killed more than 35,000 people in the past four years and trafficking groups have branched out into almost every criminal activity.

Trucking companies have not been immune: Cargo theft rose 50 percent between 2009 and 2010, Mexico’s National Cargo Shipping Chamber told the Monitor.

Shippers must drive longer hours to avoid dangerous cartel turf and the media report drugs secreted inside shipments. Tractor-trailers have also been caught recently near Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala carrying hundreds of illegal migrants into Mexico. Many of the migrants were eventually headed to the US border.

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