The political controversy over Mexican truckers delivering loads in the U.S. is driven by:
1. Genuine safety concerns (43%)
2. Teamsters protecting union jobs (36%)
3. Anti-NAFTA sentiments (15%)
4. Racism (6%)
Source: LT Quick Poll April 2007, 355 votes total.
A selection of reader comments:
Think about it, with the shortage of drivers in the U.S., wages are being driven up. If you're a U.S. truck driver, especially a unionized driver, an influx of new, lower wage drivers can do only one thing, drive trucking rates and wages down again. A good reason for them to lobby against this.-Howard H.
I worked a contract job in Mexico for 7 months, crossing the border twice a day. The line of Mexican trucks waiting to cross the border looked like a junkyard. I would not want one of the trucks I saw driving beside my family down the highway. Fenders were flapping, tires bald, plastic taped on rear/side windows, etc. You name it and I saw it.-Tom B.
There is a bigger picture to look at; this issue is only a symptom of that. Until we decide to address the real issue of bigotry, instead of avoiding it by working on the problems that don't make us squirm, we won't solve the economic and culture problems we have with our southern neighbors.-Travis M.
Claiming this is racism is only a scare tactic used by those who know nothing and refuse to look at all sides of an issue.
· Mexican trucks are extremely unsafe. Unless they will be held to a higher or as high as standard as U.S. trucks, then do not let them through the country (Here's a hint: Mexican trucking companies can't afford tires; they will not be able to afford strict regulations.)
· There is no reciprocation in Mexico. Until U.S. trucking companies are allowed the same or similar access to Mexican markets, then the only thing we are doing here is selling out American companies.
· Decreasing wages. Despite the so-called driver shortage, wages continue to decrease. It used to be that a driver could support a family on his wage; now that's simply not possible. Bringing in millions of "cheap drivers" will only make things worse.
· Union power. Unions have outlived their usefulness. Now, they are nothing more than well-funded political machines that do bidding for extreme-left causes.
Union management is loaded with corruption and illegal activity. (see http://www.unionfacts.org). Union bosses are seeing dollar signs, new members, more dues, which means bigger Cadillacs for them and nicer vacations, and more tables at DNC fundraising events. I didn't think it was possible, but unions are more in bed with the DNC now than they were during the Kennedy regime.-Jennifer A.
This issue has nothing to do with bigotry. I used to live in San Diego and the Mexican trucks were a joke. Bent rims, no fenders, etc. Log books? I think not. And our drivers don't have access to their markets? Is there bigotry in that?
I was a Teamster for a while in SoCal and it was not for me. I don't like to be told when not to work if I feel I'm being taken care of by my employer. Plus the dues and poor union doctors made it not worth it. But I do believe the Mexican trucks do bring down wages. It's not only them, but other immigrants who can barely speak English will accept almost any wage a trucking company will give them.
Anti NAFTA sentiment? Probably that too. Our government has given all of our stuff to everybody but us. In all, I don't believe that bigotry plays much of a role but the other three items do.-Tom F.
As a leading manufacturer of air brake actuators, selling many Mexican OEMs, dealers and fleets, I can say with authority that Mexico trucks have for at least the last 15 years, been built to the same safety standards as U.S. manufactured trucks. Same specs.
Also, I operate a small fleet of trucks within Mexico and also a different fleet within the U.S. 100% Mexican drivers operate both fleets of trucks, living on both sides of the border. Resistance to NAFTA is ridiculous and is promoted primarily by U.S. Labor. A Travesty.-T. Smith.
The previous company I worked for had a plant in Mexicali and we crossed our own company-owned trailers back and forth. We have put tens of thousands of dollars into replacing parts that are stolen off of our trailers (including taking the tires) to be put onto these up to date and safe Mexican trailers. We get stopped for this when our trailers were crossing back into the U.S.A. We followed the laws and expect all drivers and companies to follow the same rules.-Stephan B.
Let's face it, until U.S. trucking companies are afforded equal reciprocity within Mexico, as proposed for the Mexican trucking companies in the U.S., this will be an issue. And, there will be many opinions as to why U.S. companies and workers oppose this. I am certainly not pro union, but without reciprocity, they have a strong argument.
With regards to safety, while trucks may be manufactured to the same safety standards in Mexico as they are in the U.S., this fact is a moot point due to the average age of the commercial trucks being used in Mexico. I agree with several of the posts on this issue in this regard. Simply drive across the border and look at the trucks/trailers waiting in line on the Mexico side to cross. You will not see new late model units, rather, you will see older, unkept tractors/trailers that are in need of serious review/repair prior to operating on U.S. roads.-Mike H.
I am a union person but in my opinion this has nothing to do with anything but safety. The so-called equipment that these people are (can you say driving?) shouldn't be in a pasture much less on U.S. highways or biways. They care not about our laws, lets face it when most come into the U.S. they are breaking our laws. If they are breaking our laws just to get in why should they abide by our laws once in?
We here in the United States have to follow strict rules and regulations to keep our jobs and to keep our families and friends safe. How can we allow them to come into our country if they can't carry on a conversation with an American. How can they be expected to get where they are going if they can't read and write English? Is that not in the rules and regs book? How can we keep our families safe if we are expected to follow the rules and regs set forth by our laws and these people can come into our country driving crap and not being able to communicate?
As I said this is to me a safety factor and not prejudice. When I climb into my truck and pull out of the lot (any lot or yard) I know that what I am driving is as safe as can be. No wires holding on parts (when the parts are there), tires and wheels are safe, etc. I look down and know that the vehicle beside me is safe just as if they are my own family.
These Mexican companies don't care if there equipment is falling apart going down the road. Let's face it, their family isn't even in this country, so if their equipment is falling apart who cares? If we allow them into our country starting off breaking the law, then how can they be expected to abide by the rules and regs that our own drivers have to live by.
If they are allowed to enter our country it is our fault when one of our families gets hurt or killed. So this is why I believe it is more a safety factor then anything else.-David H.
Americans are so arrogant it is incredible. "These people...," let me guess, you live in a suburb or rural area where there is perhaps one black family and maybe and Asian?
American 'drivers' are some of the worst I have seen in the world in my 40 years of experience. You need to leave Ford City, U.S.A., before you make a comment on 'those people'.
As for equal treatment, who do you think started the rule about not crossing the border? The US started this nonsense and Mexico just kept pace. Morons. The world will not belong to great old America for much longer, get used to it.-Charles.
If we were serious about streamlining things at the border, we would do away with "transfer drivers" who pick up the load when it arrives in Nvo Laredo, drive it across the bridge and drop it in Laredo. Just let the Mexican side drivers carry freight straight through to Laredo, then don't let them come any further. There's not a compelling need.
Geography has a little to do with it. In contrast to Canada, where 90% of the population lives within 100 miles of the U.S. border, 90% of Mexico's population lives farther than a day's drive (by our rules) of the U.S. border. Those drivers have been on the road long enough by the time they reach the border that allowing them to push past the border is only asking for more fatigue-related accidents on our side.-Scott.
I was a flagger for a road crew for a few months on Highway 50 in Nevada. Two different incidents convinced me that we have a very big safety concern over drivers of all sorts who cannot read and understand our signs.
A passenger car with two young men flew past me standing by the road with a stop sign in my hand. I was yelling at them as they passed because there was traffic coming toward us in the lane they were going down and the other lane had a backhoe at work. They backed up to me and explained in VERY broken English that they didn't know to stop. I asked if they had seen the signs posted for more than a half a mile back down the road and they just kept telling me they didn't understand. I had the same exact thing happen with a semi only a few days later. He barely got his truck backed up to a safe position before oncoming traffic started around the corner.
Either of these situations could have been tragic if the timing had been different by only a minute or two. Neither driver could read or understand the signs posted for their safety and ours.
If anyone is going to drive on the highways that our families travel on, and our tax dollars pay for, they should have to meet some requirements to ensure our safety. I spoke to four Mexican truck drivers a few months ago in Portland, Ore., and when I asked about CDLs they just laughed and showed their Mexican drivers license. They thought it was very funny-at least from what I could understand it was funny since only one of the four could even communicate in English.-D.B.
If Americans have to follow standard rules for driving in the U.S., so should foreigners using our roads. If an American doesn't comprehend what road signs say, they can't get a license. Why should this be different for anyone else? Our truckers have to go through inspections to ensure their rigs are safe on our roads, why should this be any different for anyone else using "our" roads? This is not a racial issue, it's a safety issue across the board.
We are also supposed to be monitoring what is coming across our borders and who is coming across our borders. Why are we allowing these drivers to come in even one mile without inspecting what load they are carrying, if their rig is safe and does the driver comprehend basic signs?-P.
Has anyone noticed we are giving all our jobs away? Hello people, the Big Three can't sell cars anymore. Americans can't afford them, we shipped all our jobs to Mexico and Japan and India. Duh! As far as Teamsters go, yes, they are protecting jobs! Nobody else is. I keep hearing "a new way and attitude for the UAW union members to work together". Stop sending our work out and lets keep the money here in our own country! We monitor our safety through the DOT and pay when we don't meet up to the rules, Mexico does not!-W.