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How Trucks from Foreign Countries Affect Road Safety

Trucks from the US cause thousands of deaths and serious personal injuries in trucking accidents each year. However, not all trucks on US roads are from the US. Trucks from foreign countries are also allowed on US roads as they deliver products from other countries into the US. This has caused some controversy and has raised a number of questions about safety.

A program under the Bush administration in 2008 permitted 100 Mexican trucking companies to operate their semi trucks on US roads. Some experts in the trucking industry claimed that this move may possibly risk the rate of truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, and car accidents involving trucks on US roads. Although the Bush administration eventually stopped the program, the Obama administration spoke of reviving the program.

Currently, all US trucking companies must meet very strict safety regulations. These companies must also keep strict records so that in the event that an accident does occur, investigators have access to all the information they need. However, Mexico has different regulations. In fact, trucking experts note that in that country there is no record-keeping system to keep track of trucks, drivers, and accidents. Regulations are also more relaxed than in the US, some trucking industry experts claim.

This has many people worried that allowing foreign trucking companies to operate on US roads will lead to increased numbers of trucking accidents. It is also unclear how programs such as these will involve legal jurisdiction in the event of an accident. If a foreign-owned trucking company causes a trucking accident on US roads, will victims suffering from brain injuries and other serious injuries have recourse to the justice system to collect legal help to help them heal from their injuries? If other countries have different safety standards, can truckers from other countries be held liable for not following US safety standards? If no records are kept by some foreign companies, will this hamper investigators in determining the causes of accidents?
Many trucking experts also note that regulating and testing trucks from non-US trucking companies will be difficult. Currently, despite strict federal rules, there are still unfortunately many unsafe US trucks on the roads. Regulators have a hard time keeping up with domestic trucking companies who bend the rules. Experts warn that there might not be enough resources – and not enough legal power – to test and investigate non-US trucking companies as well.

However, currently most trucking accidents caused on US roads involve US truck companies and truck drivers. The debate as to this will change with the introduction of non-US trucking companies continues.