Trucks at Work

Mexican Vs. Canadian Trucks

An informal effort among truck drivers began on April 23 to "picket" if you will the nation's capitol -- a rolling protest against opening the border to Mexican truckers, designed to slow down traffic on 495, the major highway surrounding Washington D.C., also known as the Capital Beltway.

This is just the latest salvo in a gigantic maelstrom of fury over the concept of allowing Mexican carriers to operate on U.S. roads JUST LIKE CANADIAN TRUCKERS DO -- my emphasis added. Yes, there are plenty of concerns we need to address with Mexican trucks, specifically making sure both the vehicles and their drivers meet ALL U.S. laws -- but again, no different than what we require of our Canadian brethren north of our border.

The biggest issues about Mexican truckers I hear from U.S. fleets and drivers is that their rigs are unsafe and that Mexican drivers are cheap labor, designed to take jobs away from Americans. But is this really true? The funny thing about this debate is that no one worries about CANADIAN drivers stealing U.S. trucking jobs, or driving down freight rates, or running unsafe equipment -- at least not in a blanket, sterotypical fashion they way we seem to be treating Mexicans here.

The other funny thing here is that the same so-called safety groups, such as Public Citizen, that condemns the U.S. trucking industry with a very broad brush is working hand in glove with many of the folks it lambasts --owner operators in particular -- to bar the border to Mexican truckers.

This isn't to say there aren't major issues we need to solve with Mexican truckers -- but the biggest ones aren't about them, necessarily. There are entire regions in Mexico that are veritable war zones, where drug cartels and various criminal enterprises duke it out with each other and law enforcement simultaneously. No one wants that to spill over our southern border -- but I also think most Mexican truckers don't like living with that either. We should have common cause, I would think, against that.

In any event, I think we'll find opening the border will be a moot point sooner rather than later -- even Mexico's trucking indsutry wants a 12 year moratorium on the border opening now. I think that's the best course to follow -- table the Mexican truck decision for a while longer, till they are on par with our rules and requirements just like our Canadian partners to the north.