The International Brotherhood of Teamsters said it is pleased that Congress and the White House have agreed to create a “strong safety regime” that will ensure the safety of the American traveling public.

Congress and the Bush administration reached a deal last week on tough safety criteria that Mexican long-haul truckers must meet to operate their rigs across the United States. The provisions allowing Mexican trucks full access to U.S. highways largely reflected stringent conditions approved by the Senate. The House voted for an outright ban on expanded access.

“This victory for the American traveling public is long overdue,” Teamsters president James P. Hoffa said. “Just a few months ago, the Bush Administration advocated opening the border to all Mexican truck traffic with little investment in a U.S. safety regime. The Murray-Shelby provisions will ensure Mexican carriers meet the same standards as U.S. trucks and drivers.”

Hoffa said the DOT has a formidable task ahead of it because adequate safety inspection facilities must be built, additional inspectors must be put in place and Mexican trucks must be inspected every 90 days. He added that the new safety regime will create data that will assist the United States in determining whether Mexican trucks and drivers meet U.S. standards.

President George W. Bush said two objectives will be achieved: The compromise will allow the border to be opened in a timely manner and ensure that all United States safety standards will be applied to every truck and bus operating on U.S. roads.

“The compromise reached by the House and Senate appropriators on Mexican trucking is an important victory for safety and free trade,” President Bush said. “We must promote the highest level of safety and security on American highways while meeting our commitments to our friends to the South.”