Posts Tagged “Obama”
Within the next month USA transportation officials anticipate an audit report on the trucking pilot program with Mexico. While U.S. produce industry shippers may be anxious because thereport could be negative, they fear it could lead to another round of retaliatory tariffs by Mexico.
At the same time some trucking groups in the USA hope this is exactly what happens. Not necessarily retailitory tariffs by the Mexicans, but they are strongly opposed to Mexican truckers having free access to USA markets with poorly trained drivers and subpar equipment, compared to American standards — not to mentions concerns freights were plummet.
The apple, pear and cherry industries in the Northwest has paid tens of millions of dollars during the three years that Mexico imposed 20% tariffs.
The North American Free Trade Act requires the U.S. to allow cross-border trucking. However, opposition by U.S. trucking unions – including the Teamsters and trade organizations – such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, OOIDA, has kept the Mexican trucks out for more than a decade after the act went into effect in 1994. The trucking interests cited safety concerns with Mexican trucking equipment and drivers.
Despite lobbying efforts and some congressional roadblocks, the pilot program finally gained approval from President Obama and his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon in July 2011. The first Mexican truck came into the U.S. in October 2011.
However, only six Mexican carriers — each with one truck approved for the program — are participating in the pilot program.
One requirement built into the pilot program is that the DOT be able to document the safety of the Mexican trucks and drivers with “statistically valid” data. Powers said that could be a difficult task because of the low participation numbers.
(Grain Valley, Mo., April 25, 2012) – Despite being previously struck down by a federal court, a costly and unnecessary mandate has been included in the U.S. Senate’s highway surface transportation funding legislation.
U.S. truckers see it as the last thing a struggling trucking industry needs right now and want to see it removed from the bill.
A provision in S.1813, also known as MAP-21, requires all long-haul trucks to be outfitted with electronic on-board recorders, or EOBRs, capable of real-time tracking for monitoring of trucks and drivers. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the largest trade organization representing professional truckers and small-business truckers, contends EOBRs are an unproven technology, providing no cost benefit or highway safety improvement.
“It’s exorbitantly expensive while providing no safety benefit whatsoever,” says Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president. “This is being done under the guise of compliance with federal hours-of-service regulations, but it is actually a way for large motor carrier companies to squeeze more ‘productivity’ out of drivers and increase costs for the small trucking companies they compete with,” said Spencer.
A regulatory version of an EOBR mandate was struck down by a federal Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit because the FMCSA failed to deal with the harassment of drivers. Noted in that ruling was the fact that no research has shown how such a mandate would do anything to improve highway safety.
“EOBRs are no more reliable than paper log books for tracking hours of service,” said Spencer. “The device only tracks when the wheels are moving, not taking into consideration the colossal waiting times spent by truck drivers at shipping docks. Plus, we hear every day from truckers whose companies use the devices to harass truckers into driving more hours.”
The current EOBR rulemaking has been estimated by the Obama administration to cost the industry $2 billion if enacted. In response to a request made by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner to disclose all rulemakings in excess of $1 billion, President Obama listed the current EOBR rulemaking as one of the seven most expensive regulations pursued by the administration.
“It is more than twice the cost of hours-of-service regulations, which by the way are still in flux and not truly finalized. Yet the FMCSA presses on, seeking additional authority from Congress for yet another mandate,” said Spencer.
OOIDA sent a letter to the Senate conferees April 25th on behalf of its members expressing all of these concerns.