Byline: Carter Dougherty
Aug. 21--Mexican trucks already are traveling U.S. roads thanks to special exceptions put into the North American Free Trade Agreement, even though Congress and President Bush are wrangling over whether to open the border.
The conventional wisdom holds that the U.S. border with Mexico is effectively closed to Mexican trucks, which can drive only in a narrow "commercial zone" that extends between 12 and 25 miles into the United States.
In fact, a range of exemptions allows a modest number of Mexican drivers and vehicles to do business on a basis that most observers believe is currently prohibited for safety reasons.
"I work both sides of the border," said Salvador Mapula, owner of a trucking company, Baja Intercontinental Transportes, that is based in Tijuana, Mexico.
Mr. Mapula has compiled a safety record that is enviable, …