Letters: EOBR Bombshell, Megaloads, Detention Times

These Letters to the Editor appear in the March 21 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

The EOBR Bombshell

So I am sitting outside taking a break and get my update from TTalert on my phone (pretty cool deal, by the way) and about darn near lost my coffee.

Just so I can get this straight, now: We are allowing Mexican trucks to come into the United States as cross-border operations — almost a done deal. Then, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is going to pay for electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) to be placed in those Mexican trucks to do business in the United States, but FMCSA is requiring all U.S. fleets to purchase EOBRs with company money (3-14, p. 1).

I am the first in line and all for keeping these vehicles, drivers and companies in compliance on our roads. It should be done; it must be done. But completely at my expense, our country’s expense and existing (what’s left of them) small and large trucking companies’ expense?

I’ll see them all first as they come right through my state headed north, and I’ll have the great pleasure of knowing we paid everything for them to do business here. And then we get to go to the store, pick up an item and pay for the shipping in the cost? Great.

Tell me again, please — who is really paying for all of this? Out of pocket, out of company, out of taxes — FMCSA is paying for this, and they get their money where?

Here’s another question: Will this be a spread-across-the-board plan only for those EOBR companies based in the United States and doing their manufacturing here, or has that already been decided as well?

Perhaps they should require at least one full fuel-load purchase incoming and/or outgoing with proof of purchase to at least help pay a little fuel tax to maintain our roads and bridges. Ooh! I am sorry. I do apologize. What was I thinking? Let me get that for you, too.

Jim LeClaire


TOP Inc.

Lewisville, Texas

Have you ever been punched in the stomach or slapped in the face? Well, I have not, but I would imagine that this is what it would feel like after reading the article about FMCSA paying to have EOBRs installed in Mexican trucks, all the while getting ready to make them mandatory for U.S. trucks and offering no financial assistance for U.S. trucks. 

This administration has gone crazy, I guess. I really don’t understand anything they do anymore. If there is such great concern, then let’s just not let them come over the border, or else let them pay for the EOBRs themselves. If they are legitimate, safe trucking companies, they should have no problem with that.

Darren Cummings


Excalibur Transportation Group Inc.

Texarkana, Texas

The trucking industry has be-come the bargaining chip in negotiations with yet another country that has figured out how to hold us hostage to their demands.

Let’s see, Mexico is saying either to pay tariffs or buy our truckers EOBRs and let them drive into America.

I could be wrong, but I would be willing to bet there are a lot of small trucking companies across this country that would like to see some sort of FMCSA grant program for helping them upgrade to the EOBR standards.

People have been saying for years that trucking jobs can’t be exported, but the truth is that trucking jobs can be imported.

I wouldn’t mind this nearly as much if Mexico put in place commercial driver license (CDL) laws for their drivers similar to those of the United States and Canada. Now that would help level the playing field.

Carl Short

Program Coordinator

Truck Driving School

Metropolitan Community College

Kansas City, Mo.

Is this a slap in the face to all American trucks or what? I’d like to see all trucks stop for a week and see what our government says then.

As for me, let me find another way to make a living and I’m out of here. Our elected officials are destroying our own country.

God bless America — we sure need it!

Tamara Sites


RCS Transport LLC

Petersburg, W.Va.

I, for one, wholeheartedly support President Obama’s and the FMCSA decision to purchase EOBRs for Mexican trucks entering the United States.

In truth, I don’t think their policy goes far enough. I think we should look for other opportunities to provide foreign countries with free transportation technology. Here are some suggestions:

• Vehicle transponders to equip the military fleet of Libya’s Gaddafi (while providing same-frequency Global Positioning System tracking technology to the rebel forces).

• Automatic tire inflators for Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s personal jet (set to deflate to 1 pound of pressure as soon as the landing gear starts to unfold).

• In-cab communications for North Korea’s Kim Jong-il’s limousine (always on/maximum volume/receive mode only/continual loop of Rosanne Barr singing “The Star-Spangled Banner”).

The enormous level of outrage over EOBRs for Mexican trucks is well-justified. During a time when federal, state and local governments are slashing jobs, reducing services, freezing wages and forcing higher benefit contributions from their employees, our current president somehow has found the funding (and the personal “chutzpah”) to provide free technology to foreigners.

Oh, yeah — there’s one other subsidy I forgot to recommend: I think the feds also should provide about three months of cost reduction and productivity improvement consulting to the owners and CEOs of trucking companies in Paris, France — in the springtime.

I know just the consulting company to recommend.

Joe White


CostDown Consulting

Grayson, Ga.


This is in response to the Associated Press article titled, “Firm Says It Will Downsize ‘Megaloads,’ ” published on page 20 of the March 7 issue of Transport Topics.

I’d like to congratulate the opponents of Imperial Oil’s plan to move its rigs through Montana on their victory. Now we don’t have to worry about getting that silly $85 million in infrastructure improvements to Montana roads Imperial was offering, using Montana contractors — not that our ailing economy in western Montana needed it or anything.

Also, since I live on Highway 12 near Lolo, right on the proposed route, I’m glad to know that I won’t have to suffer through

an intolerable 33 loads moving separately, at night, one day at a time, over the course of several months. Not that I, or anyone else, would have noticed anyway, given the hundreds of other trucks that already use that route every day hauling everything from logs to fuel.

I’m sure you are even happier about the exciting news that Smurfit-Stone Container has sold their shuttered paper mill near Missoula, eliminating the potential for reopening that plant. Who needs those pesky jobs anyway?

Kevin Gustainis

Truck Dealer

Billings, Mont.


Detention Times

I have been reading the articles about detention time (“DeFazio Proposes Limiting Detention Time,” TTNews.com, Feb. 22).

It is true that unpaid time is spent at shippers, but the biggest culprits are the ports. We can make arrangements with the shippers/consignees to be paid for waiting time, but no matter how long you are in line at the ports, you are not going to receive one penny for your time.

Maybe DeFazio should make an adjustment to his bill.

Betty Cooke

Office Manager

Mitchell Bros. Truck Line Inc.

Vancouver, Wash.