A message from the president

By Jim Johnston, OOIDA President and CEO

In early April, the U.S. Department of Transportation released details of the Obama administration’s agreement with Mexico’s government for a new cross-border trucking program.

While publishing the plan in the Federal Register gives the American public a glimpse of the deal, it’s also a maneuver that the DOT will use to justify the agreement.

Plenty of words on plenty of paper, but overall realities do not match up. In fact, much of what I have read is an insult to the intelligence of the American public and particularly to that of professional truckers in the U.S. who deal with ever-increasing regulatory burdens.

For example, the DOT notice would have us believe that Mexico’s commercial drivers’ licensing process is far stricter and its medical qualifications are much more “rigorous” than in the U.S. Oh really?

Laws are worthless, unless they are enforced. Take, for example, Mexico’s gun laws. They are touted as some of the strictest gun laws in the world. Yet Mexico has a murder by gun rate that is more than double that of the U.S. and the mass graves to prove a complete lack of enforcement.

As you well know, for many years OOIDA has been actively fighting to stop the DOT’s efforts to implement a cross-border trucking program with Mexico. Armed with the 2001 tribunal decision, OOIDA has demanded that the U.S. not cave to Mexico’s bullying tactics and accept substandard regulatory compliance.

Accepting Mexico’s say-so that its enforcement mechanisms and compliance rates are similar to that for U.S. truckers is absurd.

As if that were not bad enough, the DOT is playing word games again and trying to implement a permanent cross-border program with Mexico instead of a strict pilot program.

The DOT knows that they are going against the will of the American people and Congress as well as venturing into blatantly illegal territory.

We are fighting a battle that has highway safety and your livelihoods hanging in the balance. Think about what trucking would look if this program becomes permanent.

We are already working very closely with like-minded lawmakers to rein in the DOT’s latest attempt to open the border.

We have won several significant victories on Capitol Hill in shutting down the previous program and implementing very strict guidelines for any pilot programs with the help of Congress. Those victories would not have been possible without strong support from you, the American truckers. I ask that as a member of OOIDA and as a citizen of the United States, you also continue to do all that you can to help put a stop to the cross-border program.

This battle is not an insurmountable one. It’s time for the membership to stand united and send a very clear message to DC.

Please call and fax all of your elected representatives in Washington, DC – both of your U.S. Senators and your Congressman. They need to hear from you as soon as possible and continue to hear from you until the Mexican trucking pilot program is stopped. Also, please ask your family, friends and acquaintances to contact their lawmakers. Operators at the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) can connect you to the offices of your elected officials.

If you are not sure who your representative or senators are, the operators will ask for your ZIP Code and put you through to their offices. You are also welcome to call OOIDA at 800-444-5791. We will be happy to look up telephone and fax numbers for you.

Committing to repeated calls and letters is a small price to pay for protecting your jobs and the safety of U.S. truckers and highway users.

I do not have to tell you what is riding on our efforts to stop the DOT or what the short- and long-term implications are if we fail. LL