• 4
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pushed his "Clean Truck Program" as a way to improve the air quality in and around the Port of Los Angeles. And while a cleaner air is in everyone's best interest, a Los Angeles Times report suggests that it could be truckers who are left holding the short end of the stick. Semi drivers have been encouraged to replace their beat-up, high pollution diesel rigs for much newer trucks with particulate filters that trap harmful gasses before they ever reach the atmosphere.

But while the new trucks are most definitely cleaner, they're also far more expensive; often costing over $100,000 each. Truckers are leasing the vehicles from the trucking companies for over $1,000 per month, and they also have to spring for fuel and insurance and maintenance costs are said to have risen. Some drivers say that they have been driven to sleep in their rigs at night to save time and increase earning, and even after that after paying for the bills, wages can be as low as $7 per hour.

Trucking companies say that the drivers aren't faring nearly as poorly as advertised, and they counter that the Clean Truck Program's real aim was to unionize the drivers. According to the LAT, that was actually supposed to be part of the plan, as Mayor Villaraigosa intended for truckers to give up on being independent contractors in favor of becoming employees of the trucking company. Teamsters President James P. Hoffa justifies unionizing the employees, adding that the drivers are "slaves" to their rigs. Meanwhile, the trucking companies have taken the government to court in an effort keep the the city from forcing the companies to hire on the workers with benefits including health care. The industry promises to continue to fight hiring the thousands of port workers even if the case needs to go to the Supreme Court.

We're not experts on government law or unionization, but it sounds suspiciously like the city of Los Angeles chose to draft and enforce new trucking laws without working closely enough with the companies that would end up footing the bill. The good news is that the air in LA appears to be a bit clearer, but the bad news is that the truckers appear to be the ones making the sacrifices.

[Source: Los Angeles Times | Image: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 4 Comments
      • 7 Months Ago
      Sounds like typical California to me. We want cleaner this-and-that and you get to foot the bill. Oh, guess what, you need to start footing that bill next year. If you can't, tough sh~~.

      Sounds like the trucking industry needs more time to adapt. People won't work that job if they make less than minimum wage. This change is important because these trucks have got away with emissions murder for a very long time. The cost of shipping things is just going to have to go up.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Really, if we assume that haulage happens in a competitive market, then everyone that takes delivery of goods from LA will foot the bill. The cost to truckers goes up, so the cost of shipping things must go up, so the cost of goods for sale goes up.

        We get cleaner air, but pay more for things that must be carried by truck. Makes good sense to me.

        As a side benefit, it provides a small advantage to local industry.
      • 7 Months Ago
      "But while the new trucks are most definitely cleaner, they're also far more expensive; often costing over $100,000 each. Truckers are leasing the vehicles from the trucking companies for over $1,000 per month, and they also have to spring for fuel and insurance and maintenance costs are said to have risen."

      There's your problem right there. The morons are leasing their trucks. They're not slaves to the trucks, they're sharecroppers on the trucking company's farm.

      They need to incorporate themselves independently, and then go the bank and get a business loan to buy a new truck. At the rate of their former lease, they'll pay off the loans very quickly, and be their own boss. Maybe buy another truck, and hire another driver...
      • 7 Months Ago
      About time, some of these trucks smoke like locomotives, it's disgusting.