Transportation: Trucks in US and Mexico

Geporge Sassoon asked if US trucks use tachygraphs.  Randy Black replies: U.S. truckers are generally monitored by global positioning systems installed on their trucks that relay their location to within one meter, speed, distances traveled, time, engine information, date and driving habits around the clock in real time. Those records are relayed to the home base computer, minute by minute. For instance, locally, in my little part of heaven north of Dallas, some scoundrel dumped 10 tons of organic garbage, including several deer carcasses in a local vacant lot on two occasions recently. Considering the size of the illegal dumping, my city leaders asked surrounding towns to review the records of their waste truck drivers. Sure enough, the next town down the road was able to use the GPS records and to place one of their drivers at the scene of the crime a month earlier, at the exact spot. That guy was fired yesterday, faces two years in jail although he’ll probably get probation, and the town agreed to pay a $10,000 fine.
It’s nearly impossible to cheat such a system since it’s sealed when it’s installed and relays real time information to a mainframe computer. One of the other future benefits of the GPS-type monitoring system is that the truck’s performance is (or will be) monitored to the extent that the computer back at the home base will be able to analyze maintenance needs and compare them against federally mandated safety  and ongoing maintenance requirements, order the parts, ship them to the driver’s next stop and make the appointment for the work to be done when the driver reaches his or her destination.

RH: This brings up the row over Mexican trucks crossing the US border. I imagine most of them are not so equipped.

Randy Black described  the conditions under which US trucks must operate, I asked if they applied to trucks coming from Mexico. Randy replies: Whether or not the trucks from Mexico have GPS equipment, I do not know. Mexican trucks have been restricted to a 20-mile commercial zone inside the United States since Bill Clinton issued the restriction in 1994 at the urging of the Teamsters and other union groups who see NAFTA as costing U.S. workers jobs. That restriction, which violated the NAFTA agreement, stayed in force due to numerous lawsuits by U.S. groups until the current administration finally was able to have the restriction lifted courtesy of a Supreme Court ruling (541U.S. ____2004, No. 03-358) in June 2004.

Mexican diesel engine emission standards are aligned with the US-EPA standards for the 1994 to 2003 model years. Under NAFTA, Mexican trucks will only be allowed to enter the United States after passing safety inspections, obtaining insurance and when carrying maintenance records from U.S. firms. In addition, drivers will have to submit to drug and alcohol tests.

Ronald Hilton 2005


last updated: April 16, 2005