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Last updated 7:50AM ET
March 1, 2021
Feds Look To Tighten English Law For Truckers
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Manuel Castillo was driving a truck through west Alabama hauling onions and left with a $500 ticket for something he didn't think he was doing: speaking English poorly.

Castillo was stopped on his way back to California and said he knows federal law requires him to be able to converse in English with an officer but he thought his language skills were good enough to avoid a ticket.

Still, Castillo said he plans to pay the maximum fine of $500 rather than return to Alabama to fight the ticket.

Federal law requires that anyone with a commercial drivers license speak English well enough to talk with police. Authorities last year issued more than 25,000 tickets nationwide for violations.

Now the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed rules requiring anyone applying for a commercial drivers license to speak English during their road test and vehicle inspection. The rule change would likely take effect next year.

The issue of English-speaking drivers could become larger if the Bush administration succeeds with efforts to make it easier for trucks to enter the U.S. from Mexico. Trucks already are allowed to enter border areas under a pilot program.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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