OOIDA doubts benefits of satellite tracking of cross-border trucks

| Friday, September 28, 2007

Leaders of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association expressed skepticism in response to the FMCSA’s announcement to establish a satellite tracking system as part of the cross-border trucking pilot program with Mexico.

“In writing it sounds impressive, but closer scrutiny verifies it’s a cosmetic cover up for a poorly conceived program,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

In a press release, officials from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration claimed that the system will monitor whether drivers are complying with driving time limits. However, Spencer commented that the agency cannot even currently do this with U.S. drivers, not without checking paperwork or other records.

The FMCSA’s own press release states “no driver information will be collected or tracked.”

“I don’t see how this ensures anything from a safety or security standpoint. We’d like FMCSA to explain in more detail exactly how this system will actually keep track of the hours of service of a trucker,” Spencer said.

“And as we might have expected, FMCSA has U.S. taxpayers picking up the tab for this from money that should be spent on highways and bridges.”

The FMCSA’s press release states that “the systems will be installed at no cost to the participating trucking companies,” but does not specify where the money will come from to pay for the high-tech tracking equipment.

In addition to saying that the system will help them “monitor” drivers’ hours-of-service compliance, federal officials also stated that the tracking system will help them “monitor” other aspects of the cross-border program.

“This will give us the ability to monitor every vehicle from Mexico and ensure all companies are following our strict safety requirements, including those governing hours of service and cabotage,” said FMCSA Administrator John Hill in the agency’s press release.

Hill did not elaborate on how a satellite tracking system would ensure that trucks and drivers from Mexico are in compliance with U.S. safety regulations or any other U.S. laws. To read the FMCSA press release, click here.

– By Land Line staff

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