New safety road rules giving trucking companies troubles

After 14 years of working on the road as a long-haul truck driver, Edgar Galvan decided to take another route and opened his own trucking company in Los Fresnos, Galvan's National Carrier.

The six fleet trucking business transports mostly heavy machinery and steel to 48 states. However, Galvan said that in the 3 years he's been in business, things have gradually gotten tougher. First came the rise in fuel prices, and now Galvan said, road rules are getting meticulously strict. The new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration laws that went into effect in 2010, he said, could force small companies like his to shut down and leave truckers out of a job.

"(If a driver) wakes up and doesn't (fill out) his log book and just drives, (if) he gets stopped, Galvan said, they'll issue him a warning or a citation that will go on his license (and) it will deduct points on his license and it will also affect the safety rating of the company."

Galvan said under the new laws, law enforcement officials will be able to warn or cite truck drivers for anything from a chip on a windshield, no wiper fluid or a strap out of place.

If a truck driver racks up a certain amount of points for these sort of violations, their licenses will get suspended for two years, Galvan said. For trucking companies, too many points can be disastrous.

"When we get audited they'll go through everything, Galvan said. The government sees that we have so many citations for that company, so they audit the company and either we get a big fine and pay it and continue, or they shut us down."

Galvan said he agrees with keeping drivers safe on the road since they are hauling tons of cargo, but he adds that tacking on these types of violations against a driver and a company is unheard of and ridiculous.

There are even more changes coming in the near future, like reducing the number of hours truckers can drive each day, and Galvan said he just hopes his company can stay afloat.

"What they want to do is, I guess get rid of the small companies and keep the big companies out there," Galvan said.