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Truckers block the Mexico City-Querétaro highway Tuesday morning. Trucks block the Mexico City-Querétaro highway Tuesday morning.

Truckers mount nationwide strike to protest double semis, fuel costs

They say government reneged on campaign promise to prohibit double-trailers

Truckers were set to strike in all 32 states on Tuesday to pressure the federal government to meet a range of demands including a ban on double semi-trailers and lower prices for fuel and tolls.

Drivers affiliated with the Mexican Alliance of Transportation Organizations (Amotac) planned to begin setting up blockades on highways across Mexico at 8:00am.

Major roads into Mexico City including the Periférico ring road and the México-Toluca, México-Puebla and México-Cuernavaca highways were expected to be blocked this morning.

Amotac president Rafael Ortiz Pacheco said on Monday that before the new government took office last December, Communications and Transportation Secretary Javier Jiménez Espriú pledged to remove double semi-trailers from circulation.

However, the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) has continued to grant new plates to the vehicles, he said.

“We feel very neglected by the [transportation] department and that’s what motivated the decision to come out and protest,” Ortiz said.

The Amotac chief claimed that double semi-trailers have been granted permits and plates without being subjected to mechanical inspections to ensure that they are equipped with anti-lock braking systems and GPS, and that they comply with emissions standards.

The truckers’ association is demanding the enforcement of SCT Norm 012, which stipulates that double semi-trailers must travel exclusively in the far-right lane with their lights on, keeping a distance of 100 meters from other heavy vehicles and not exceeding 80 km/h.

Amotac, which represents 65,000 drivers, criticized the SCT for failing to keep a promise to install weighbridges on federal highways to regulate the loads carried by double semi-trailers.

Ortiz asserted that the vehicles represent unfair competition for regular semis because they can transport double the freight at a similar cost.

“. . . We’re against double semi-trailers. The SCT said during the presidential campaign that they would be removed from circulation due to lack of safety but they changed their mind and now they’re giving them permits and license plates, which represents unfair competition. We’ve demonstrated their lack of safety, [but] they didn’t care in the past government” and this one doesn’t seem to care either, he said.

Amotac members are also demanding that the government make more trucking licenses available, improve safety on the nation’s highways, put an end to high prices charged by tow truck services, reduce the price of fuel and tolls and stamp out abuses perpetrated by federal, state and municipal police.

Source: El Financiero (sp), El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp) 

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