I came across the article about the Mexico truck pilot [program] and think this is crazy. I’m sure they do not see the [average] Mexican driver. I have seen them in Laredo, Texas, and El Paso, Texas, and their equipment is substandard to what we have here and in Canada. I live in the Houston area and even here we have problems with the substandard equipment that is used by Mexican-owned companies. The equipment is not up to DOT standards. For example, tires have slick tread, trucks have straps holding them together, and lights are out. The other day as I was driving home from work I had to dodge a driveshaft that came flying from under a poorly maintained truck and almost caused an accident.
There are companies hiring Mexicans who do no speak English, and that is a big problem here in Texas and surrounding states. These companies are paying substandard wages to them because they can get away with it and they have for years.
If they want to open the borders for Mexican trucking, I would think they would educate them on the laws and regulations of the DOT (in English). This should be in a class, not just a handout. If they pass that, then give a road test (in English). Better yet, make them go to an American truck driving school and make Mexico pay for it.
Now let’s get to the crime aspect of this. We all know crime is bad in all border towns. Now expand that crime over the U.S. and Canada. The big picture is there are enough truckers driving in the U.S. and Canada now and new drivers getting into the field. We don’t have room for uneducated drivers.
I believe that everyone needs a job and I believe that education is the key to make this work.
Get the Facts About Mexican Trucks
I’ve been reading your magazine for years and it’s the same feedback: complaints about the government and Mexican trucks. The truth is, we are responsible for our elected officials.
Mexican trucks? They think that all the trucks they see at the border crossings are all the same (raggedy), which some of them are, but they pass DOT inspection in order to come across. How else would the American truck driver get his load? I have a relative in Mexico that owns his own trucking outfit with more than 400 trucks. I asked him if he was going to ship freight from Mexico into the United States in his own trucks. You know what his response was? “I have enough freight to move around here to keep me busy. Why would I want to go into the U.S.?”
They are required by their insurance company that the truck be three years or newer, so no raggedy trucks for him. Yes, they do have to have insurance in Mexico. So next time someone complains about Mexican trucks or government officials tell them to get the facts from the source, not the truckstop parking lot.
Retiring from the Chaos
After 42 years and three million miles, I have decided to hang up the keys and leave this great industry to whoever can handle the chaos.
[I have seen] the constant up and down of HOS that does not ever seem to satisfy the so-called “watchdog” groups or politicians, even when industry safety numbers get better each year; the individual states that think they know how to check for fatigued drivers; and the companies that refuse to abide by the safety laws of the land just to keep their cash flow going by not fixing their equipment until they are stopped and fined.
With the nationwide inspections about to begin again, I wish that the states and federal government would put teeth in their efforts to enforce the laws about safety. I work for a company that has not had any of their approximately 24 trailers annually inspected and [that doesn’t make] repairs until something is falling off or they get an occasional ticket.
With the economy still struggling and local jobs not very likely to fall from the sky, the CSA vehicle inspections can and will punish drivers for the cost cutting of some companies with safety points against them.
I have called my state commercial vehicle department about my company and requested that they perform an onsite inspection of this fleet for the safety of the public and total disregard for our laws and was referred to the federal DOT office. The federal DOT said that they would not even look into the complaint without my name, phone number, address, specific unit numbers and dates on the road.
Whatever happened to being anonymous? You cannot get [government] offices to check out complaints without fear of being fired and looking for a job in an economy like ours.
So I decided to retire on July 1 and leave the mess of our industry to someone else. There used to be pride in a fleet by the way it looked, the condition of the equipment, the professionalism of the employees and the employers, but now it is the bottom line and the almighty dollar. My employer has not even had the tractors washed in two years!
What should be done about the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure?
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New Orleans, La. RWI
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What do you think about Obama’s decision to release oil from the strategic reserve to combat fuel prices?
“Purely a political move. Strategic reserves are for emergency only. Where is the emergency, other than sagging ratings for the President? To fix the problem, force oil speculators to take physical delivery of the oil, and open up the untapped oil resources we have in the United States, but don’t go shipping it to China.”
— Phil G.
“Almost every modern president has had to turn the spigot at least once. I’m not sure if Bush 2 did or not, but this is too little too late — done for the election. If fuel prices were to go down significantly at the pump, then this economy would come roaring back with a vengeance across the board. People wouldn’t have to dip into their savings just to make it to work for the week.”
— Curtis M.
“Does anyone see what they no longer talk about? They are running out. They talk of drilling, but no one is doing it because there is no more to be had. Resources have been used up. We the people continue to pay their prices because they know we have no choice.”
— John G.
“Not good enough to affect the price at the pump, especially long-term. What we need to do is simple: Drill for oil! And build some refineries! Very simple. We know where the oil is. It’s here in and around the United States. Politicians need to look more at the big economic picture. They are only concerned with the short-term, saving their political backsides. Truth is they are out of touch because they don’t have to fill up their own cars or motorcades, or jets.”
— Kevin S.
“That’s putting a bandaid on a gushing jugular vein!”
— Tim P.
“This has to go in the top 10 stupidest things he has done.”
— Michael S.
“It’s only a bandaid/temporary fix. It doesn’t mean a thing. They kept saying price was going up because of what’s going on in the Middle East. Well, all that is still going on, now what?”
— Aric C.
“DRILL, DRILL, DRILL, DRILL. The people making decisions about what our gas prices are don’t even pay for gas. It’s a shame the American people have put such morons in control of us.”
— Tim M.
“It would be nice to see prices down to pre-1974 prices. Like 39 cents per gallon.”
— Yitz V.
“Drill and build refineries close to the sources of the oil. The resources are in the ground — get it out and use it. That’s what resources were given to us for. Politicians have no clue what is going on outside their little cocoon.”
— Ben W.
“Drill! We have the goose who lays golden eggs and we have her on birth control. OPEC controls their output, but if we drilled as much as we wanted/can, it would add to world supply and drive price down sustainably. Libs love that word. Empty the strategic oil reserve and you have a very temporary dip in price. Then what?”
— John J.
“Drilling doesn’t solve anything, and when we do drill we sell it to other nations. It’s a bumper sticker slogan that politicians came up with to get dumb people to support more money for oil companies.”
— Joe L.
“He’s trying to get reelected, that’s the only reason for it.”
— Bob S.
“It’s going to lower the price three to five cents for a few months and that’s all.”
— Dan H.