Ray LaHood: 'Americans should pay for EOBRs for Mexican Trucks'
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An electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) is an electronic device attached to a commercial motor vehicle, which is used to record the amount of time a vehicle is being driven.
The driving hours of commercial drivers - truck and bus drivers - are regulated by a set of rules known as the hours-of-service (HOS). The HOS are rules intended to prevent driver fatigue, by limiting the amount of time drivers spend operating commercial vehicles.
Obama has agreed to opening the southern border to Mexican trucks, by doing so he has defied the unions and American truckers, and has passed over Congress on the ever-so controversial cross-border issue with Mexico. Obama also, screws the American tax payers too, as in the deal with Mexico - that he agreed too - has Americans paying for the EOBRs for the Mexican trucks.
This is outrageous to say the least - that American truck drivers, and American taxpayers have to "pay" for equipment for another countries trucks - so they can be in compliance with American safety standards and regulations.
In 1995 the US and Mexico started a pilot program to allow Mexican trucks to travel throughout the US delivering loads brought in from Mexico. The US trucks were allowed to do the same in Mexico, but safety and security concerns spurred the United States to bar Mexican trucks on U.S. roadways.
Obama signed a 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which included a provision to end the Department of Transportation’s trucking project with Mexico. In retaliation the Mexican government placed illegally $2.5 billion in tariffs on a variety of U.S. goods. United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, should have investigated the illegal tariffs when Mexico first placed them.
But, sadly he and our government even though repeatedly being told to investigate these so-called tariffs refused and whimpered-out and paid the tariffs. 16 years later the safety and security concerns still exist, but Obama agreed to allow the Mexican trucks back into the US.
The prior pilot program only allowed 100 Mexican carriers to do business beyond the border zone in the United States. This time-around the program has no limit on the carriers or number of trucks to be allowed into the US – provided they can pass an inspection of their trucks and the accreditation of their operators. "Unlike the failed pilot program, under the new plan there will be no limit to the number of companies who can participate and the trucks they can register for cross-border transport,” said Dionisio Perez-Jacome, Mexico’s Communications and Transportation Minister.
This will happen in three stages:
- The first stage will be the application and inspection of the Mexican trucks and the accreditation of their operators.
- The second stage starts with a three-month period of thorough inspections of the vehicles crossing the border, checks that will decrease starting the fourth month.
- The final stage involves the Mexican companies being notified of their permanent authorization, which can be granted after 18 months of successful operations.
The United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood along with Obama “tout” that this new cross-border trucking plan with Mexico is going to create jobs. But, it does not take a genius to see that by allowing Mexican trucks into the US will cut jobs.
"Currently, three trucks and three drivers are used to get goods across the border," Ferrari said. "It comes out to about $150 per crossing. Multiplied by the 4.5 million annual truck crossings, the savings generated could exceed $675 million," said Mexican Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari.
Steve Russell, chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Celadon Group Inc., which serves the U.S., Canada and Mexico said, “The theory behind cross-border trucking is that one tractor would replace three” in a recent article. I know my math is not perfect, but that looks like it will remove jobs from the trucking industry in both countries.
But again I ask, will someone from Obama’s administration please explain to me how this creates jobs for Americans?
I’m not much on Democrats or Liberals or RINOs but I am glad that Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit – at least seems to be looking out for American Truckers, and taxpayers. He sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood requesting additional details regarding the proposed pilot program the U.S. is negotiating with Mexican officials.
I request that you provide me with a written justification of how DOT’s planned program complies with the requirements for pilot programs under section 31315 of title 49, United States Code, as well as various appropriations provisions related to cross border trucking. I also ask that you provide me with the specific legal authority the Department relies on to expend Highway Trust Fund dollars to implement the pilot program and to purchase equipment to be used and retained by Mexican carriers.
In addition, DeFazio strongly opposes a proposal to use scarce Highway Trust Fund dollars to pay for the Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBR) for Mexican trucks in the program. This proposal would require American taxpayers to subsidize Mexican truck compliance with American safety standards and regulations. This is simply unacceptable.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has said, "the final agreement to end a two-year-old trucking dispute with Mexico should be weeks, if not days away." Why is this administration so up on shoving things through so fast? Maybe, it is because of the “shady” deals they try all the time. Which I might mention have all failed since Obama was placed on his pedestal.
DeFazio went onto explain, “I strongly support the requirement that Mexican carriers use EOBRs to demonstrate compliance with hours of service laws, particularly since Mexico does not hold its drivers to the same stringent hours of service standards that apply to U.S. carriers. However, it is outrageous that U.S. truckers, through the fuel tax, will subsidize the cost of doing business for these Mexican carriers.”
Everyone needs to call your senators and representatives and demand them to kill this deal now. You can call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 provide the operator with your home zip code and they will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.
If you as a US truck-driver value your job then you must contact your Senators and Representatives and explain to them why this is not a good idea. It is ironic that the DOT is always talking about how their number one priority is Safety – then they do this.
I have written many times on this subject for a couple of years you can read them on my blog: Truck Drivers News Blog - A blog for truck drivers news, and a watchdog site for the trucking industry.