Opposing Mexican Trucking program with lies is irresponsible

Mexican truck coming in for border inspection
Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA preaches that complying with our NAFTA obligations is “irresponsible and reckless”. What is more “irresponsible and reckless” is the opposition attempting to inflame the publics passions and prejudices with lies and misinformation about Mexico and it’s trucking industry.

A relatively new website, THE TRUCKERS VOICE is looking for 100 volunteers to help spread the misinformation and lies by having these volunteers;

  1. Call every politician, even your mayors.
  2. Email every politician, even your mayor.
  3. Write (snail mail) ever politician, even your mayor.
  4. Get all your friends (even your pet if he can legally write) to do the same.
  5. Start a petition in your town. Sit in front of your grocery store, or bring it to your church.

Kind of cute isn’t it, but in the end, a totally worthless effort.

Heather Pontruff, the publisher of TRUCKERS VOICE seems to be fully on board with OOIDA’s ridiculous claims of Mexican truckers taking over our industry, those truckers being controlled by the cartels. She says;

The public safety is at risk with this one.

A. There is a MAJOR cartel issue in the border states. These cartels grow stronger daily, and sneakier. How are we to keep them from completely taking over if we open the borders to all Mexican trucks? In short, we can’t ensure it.

B. There is an illegal immigration issue. True, the drivers in Mexico honestly make more per mile than American truckers. The issue here is there’s no guarantee that once upon entering, these drivers would actually exit.

C. Our border patrol is overwhelmed as is. With no money going into the system, they can’t afford to hire even more agents more. This means more stuff would get past the screening areas and into the U.S.

The only cartel issue we have in the border states is the baseless claims made by politicians seeking to secure more DHS funds for their districts and departments. Recently, the head of the Border Patrol in the Tucson sector chastised Cochise Country Sheriff Larry Deaver for spreading the lies about the cartels overrunning his county.

The cross border issue has absolutely nothing to do with illegal immigration other than to be used as an excuse to bash the program. People ignore the fact that trucks from Mexico, grandfathered in when Reagan signed the Foreign Carrier Exclusion Order in 1982 have continued to operate throughout the United States for more than50 years. And in addition, the dray trucks that operate in the commercial zone do so legally. No trucks are being abandoned as drivers disappear into the heartland. Simply another mechanism to stir the fear and prejudices people have in these times against Mexicans.

Further showing she knows nothing of issue is her claim about the Border Patrol being overwhelmed and can’t handle another hundred trucks crossing the border at the rate of one or two per week.
[pullquote]The agency anticipates an average of one long-haul border crossing per week per truck with each Mexican carrier having two trucks participating in the program. It assumes an attrition rate of 25 percent after 18 months in the project and calculates 46 carriers will suffice to achieve a target of 4,100 inspections within three years – OVERDRIVE MAGAZINE[/pullquote]

The Border Patrol has nothing to do with what crosses the border. That is the area of responsibility of Customs and Border Protection, a separate unit of DHS.

According to the fact sheet released by FMCSA concerning the issue that confuses Ms. Pontruf,

FMCSA has a staff of over 250 distributed at each commercial truck crossing between the
United States and Mexico. Our State partners have an additional 350 personnel to support the
program. These personnel, currently overseeing the safety of the trucks entering the U.S. commercial
zones, are adequate to oversee long-haul operations also.

So we have adequate personnel to oversee the inspection of these additional 100 or so trucks and the infrastructure is in place to screen them as they do all the others when they pass through Customs.

But perhaps the most outrageous statement she makes, and totally baseless and without facts is this;

I remember the last time they did the cross border program with Mexico, I lived in Texas. CMV “at fault” accidents sky rocketed. Why?
A. They brought over the best trucks Mexico across the border for the pilot program. Once they opened the border to a total of 100 outfits, the trucks were scary and unsafe.
B. Unlike Canada, there is no structured method for HOS (hours of service). The truck
crossing into the U.S. border could’ve driven 4 hours straight before entering or 40, there’s
no way of knowing.

CMV accidents might have skyrocketed, but they did not involve trucks from Mexico nor have anything to do with Mexican trucks.

According to FMCSA STATISTICS accident rates involving Mexican domiciles carriers actually went DOWN in 2007, the year the previous cross border program was initiated.

  • 2006 – 92
  • 2007 – 76
  • 2008 – 67
  • 2008 – 58
  • 2010 – 17

Yes, Mexico has differing regulations than does the US and Canada’s regulations differ from ours, such as more liberal hours of service laws. Mexico’s regulatory environment sets out the rules the drivers and companies are expected to follow and puts the onus on the company and drivers. Traffic accidents in Mexico are criminal, not civil as they are in the US. Fatalities or accidents involving extreme property damage, causes the driver to lose his license and freedom. Yes, they put them in jail and there are no second chances. Perhaps something we should be looking at here.

But articles such as this one, and the ones OOIDA is publishing around the internet are the height of irresponsibility, something we’ve come to expect from Spencer and his gang. But there is no reason people like Ms Pontruf and THE TRUCKERS VOICE should lower themselves to that level.