DRIVER TURNOVER in long-haul increased in the first three months of the year, according to the American Trucking Associations. At large truckload fleets, the annualized rate rose to 75 percent in the quarter ended March 31. Turnover at small truckload fleets rose one percentage point to 50 percent in the first quarter, the highest point since third quarter 2008. Less-than-truckload fleets increased to 8 percent from 6 percent the previous quarter.
U.S., Mexico sign trucking deal
U.S. and Mexican officials have signed an agreement to end the cross-border trucking dispute under which Mexican carriers could be granted provisional operating authority soon.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes Dionisio Arturo Pèrez-Jàcome Friscione signed a Memorandum of Understanding July 6.
FMCSA’s cross-border pilot program mandates Mexican carriers meet all U.S. motor vehicle safety standards. FMCSA will provide and pay for electronic onboard recorders to track hours-of-service compliance at a maximum cost of $2.5 million.
For Mexican program participants, the agency will review the complete driving record of each driver and require all drug testing samples to be analyzed in U.S. labs. It will assess drivers’ comprehension of English and U.S. traffic signs.
Mexico will provide reciprocal authority for U.S. carriers to engage in cross-border long-haul operations in that country. Neither nation can engage in domestic carriage of goods point-to-point in the other country.
The memorandum does not apply to hazmat carriers or carriers engaged in the cross-border transportation of passengers.
Mexico agreed to a phased-in lifting of retaliatory tariffs imposed on many U.S. goods following Congress’ vote to end a previous program in March 2009.
Following the agreement announcement, Rep. Peter DeFazio filed a bill to limit the administration’s authority to “unilaterally decide how and when to open the U.S.-Mexico border without input from Congress.” The Oregon Democrat’s bill would also limit use of the Highway Trust Fund to pay for EOBRs for Mexican truckers.
The American Trucking Associations, business and farming organizations have supported the cross-border program. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Teamsters and some safety groups have opposed it.
OOIDA President Jim Johnston said it will hurt U.S. trucking jobs and place an undue burden on taxpayers, and he blasted the DOT’s pledge of transparency to the public over the program.