When the North American Free Trade Agreement began, rules were set in place to make sure the carriers coming out of Mexico were compliant with U.S. laws. It has been stated that thousands of inspections are needed to get a baseline on how these trucking companies are adhering to U.S. laws.
The concern for Texas truckers and others is the disparity in operating expenses. U.S. drivers are paid on a much higher scale, insurance costs are much higher and workers’ compensation in the United States versus no requirement in Mexico are just a few of the items creating a tilted playing field. Safety issues are mounting as some “approved carriers” are now being shut down for safety concerns.
Until you have a border program that can check each driver entering the United States, you will not have a compliant community of trucks because of language barriers, quality of equipment, and when, exactly, their logbooks started.
My personal concern is the driver who drove all night to get to the border and then started a fresh logbook, allowing him to drive another 11 hours. That’s a recipe for a catastrophic event. Unfortunately, the catastrophic event in question will be what it takes to get out and into public opinion.
I can see the 24-hour cable news programs grinding this story for weeks. I hope American Trucking Associations and my association in Texas fall on the right side of this issue and protect our American transportation companies from the disparity that exists now.
Senior Vice President
I beg to differ with Strategic Programs’ consultant Megan Younkin on her comments about driver retention.
Not many drivers are changing companies for pennies on the mile. Driver pay is the issue — period!
I drive for a sizable carrier in Florida to pay for my toys. If large fleets can continue to operate at a profit with what they pay, then the rest of the trucking industry needs to wake up.
We all have a product that someone needs, just like them. Wonder why they don’t complain about driver retention?
Appointments need to be honored, and if a shipper wants a truck, be ready to load it or pay detention, so the driver gets paid — and not at $10 per hour.
A driver is held responsible for it all; he is a professional, you say. Pay him for it and watch retention fade as an issue — and watch the quality of drivers improve for your company.
The money that carriers spend on glitzy new-driver orientation would be better spent on better pay, and — again — do this and retention would become less of an issue.
Driver, retired owner-operator
Salt Springs, Florida