Our EOBR gifts to Mexican carriers

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One of the curious aspects of the current cross-border trucking plan is the U.S. paying for Mexican trucks to be equipped with electronic onboard recorders. When I heard Anne Ferro, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, explain it last month, she estimated it would cost $500,000 to $700,000.

American truckers are understandably outraged that our tax dollars are paying for equipment in trucks that many believe don’t need to be here anyway. As Ferro put it, NAFTA stipulates that neither country can make the other country do something that it doesn’t require itself.  Since the U.S. is only in the proposal stage of requiring EOBRs, it can’t force Mexican carriers to invest in the equipment.

So to gain the ability to track Mexican trucks better for hours of service and general whereabouts, we bite the bullet and foot the bill. We certainly need to do all we can to monitor the trucks, but bearing this much cost still seems ridiculous. FMCSA sure isn’t going to do the same for our industry.

Yesterday’s announcement of new program details says that Mexican carriers now have the option of using EOBR or only GPS. I don’t know that it will make a lot of difference in overall cost or how the program operates.

What do you think of the Mexican EOBR matter?

For more information on the cross-border plan, see Jill Dunn’s story in our May issue.

You can comment on FMCSA’s cross-border notice by including the docket number, FMCSA-2011-0097:

  • Via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov
  • By faxing comments to (202) 493-2251.
  • By mailing comments to the Docket Management Facility, (M–30), U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Room 12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.