The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

All the drivers need safe trucks!

Aug 13, 2001

Officials of the Teamsters Union are trying to prevent Mexican truckers from driving into the U.S. to make deliveries.

The Teamster leaders militantly condemn the Mexican trucking industry for running unsafe trucks. They say border inspections found that 37% of the Mexican trucks had safety defects, and that such trucks should be blocked from entering the U.S., because of the highway safety hazards they represent.

It’s certainly true that unsafe trucks should be removed from the road – all of them. For example, we could start with trucks put on the road by the U.S. trucking industry. Inspections found that 24% of them had safety defects! The highway hazards of defective U.S. trucks are just as dangerous as the hazards of defective Mexican trucks.

Why focus only on Mexican trucks? Why not prevent ALL unsafe trucks from operating?

Truck drivers everywhere need safe trucks to drive. And the Teamsters are in the best position to insist that the trucks they themselves drive are completely safe. They have the means to put an end to the even bigger safety problem of fatigue. U.S. trucking companies jumped on the job-cutting bandwagon years ago, eliminating jobs – then forcing the remaining drivers to carry the load. Truckers drive more miles, and stay behind the wheel for longer hours, to bring home the same pay. This is a “safety defect” every bit as dangerous as the mechanical ones.

If anyone wants to fight for more jobs and safer jobs, they don’t have to wait until they get to the Rio Grande to do it.