Personal safety on the road for Professional Truck Drivers is an important topic throughout the trucking industry. There are several aspects of Professional Truck Driver safety to consider which includes their health and better driving practices by themselves and civilian motorists. Unfortunately, Professional Truck Drivers also face another threat to their personal safety on the road: crimes like robberies, attacks, theft, and hijacking to name a few.
Virtually every commercial big-rig rolling down the highway is carrying valuable freight possibly worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions. Those loads are all inviting targets for cargo thieves particularly when the shipment is easy to be sold for cash, etc. via the black market. Be mindful that hi-jacking cargo is mostly an inside job, and this is why most trucking companies and brokerage firms have policies in place which requires Professional Truck Drivers to have enough fuel to travel at-least 200 miles non-stop and to notify authorities if they’re being followed. At times there’s a strong possibility a truck is being followed by hi-jackers for the purpose of hi-jacking the truck or the trailer, these situations are usually carried-out by none professional criminals.
Personal safety is becoming an increasingly alarming issue for Professional Truck Drivers. According to a survey, more than 20% of Professional Truck Drivers said they were the victim of a crime while on the road, and 42% of them said the crime was violent in nature.
How Can Professional Truck Drivers Practice Better Safety?
Adopting trucking practices that allow Professional Truck Drivers to better protect themselves and prevent their chances of being attacked or hi-jacked for their equipment or cargo is necessary.
One of the most common cases of theft is the crime of opportunity, in which a thief is looking for whatever they can steal and sell quickly. Crimes like these often occur at truck stops, drop lots or other areas where the cargo might be left unattended. Store parking lots or unsecured and empty parking lots where trailers might be parked for the weekend, awaiting a Monday delivery are also likely places for such crimes to occur.
Countermeasures to prevent theft, in this case, can include not leaving the trailer unattended or attached to the truck, especially when you are in a remote or unsecured area. Installing high-security rear door locks and air cuff locks can be effective as well. If it is not possible to move the trailer to a secured area after the end of your shift, it would be a good idea to consider installing landing gear locks as well.
Professional Truck Drivers are also often robbed with more sophisticated methods, in which the perpetrators of the theft might try to trick the driver into giving up the load. In such cases, the thief might scour the internet for specific products they might want to steal and look for public load boards, that match what they want to score to make easy money. These perpetrators may even post false loads to load boards and solicit bids so they can get the information they need on carriers that can help them steal the load.
Whether by identity theft, double brokering scams, or other forms of deception, strategic cargo thefts are a significant concern. Professional Truck Drivers should take measures to prevent these thefts, including:
- Working only with licensed brokers that have reputable practices for vetting carriers and protecting cargo security.
- Researching carrier information through sources like the FMCSA and third-party vetting companies.
- Checking for all the information at the pickup point to verify all the information and verifying it through legitimate sources that you know.
As a Professional Truck Driver, you should not talk to anybody about your loads, whether you are at a store or a truck stop or even after the end of your shift. Report any activity that seems suspicious to you, never leave the cab unlocked – even while on the move, and lock the trailer after every stop.
More can and should be done to protect Professional Truck Drivers, including the introduction of more safe parking options. Shortage of access to secure parking is a significant problem, and addressing the issue can go a long way in protecting drivers.
January 2019 saw two bills that would allow for national reciprocal laws that establish the framework for national concealed-carry reciprocity: H.R. 38 and S. 69. H.R. 38 proposes that “qualified individuals may carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.”
Additionally, the bill states that the qualified individual carrying or possessing a handgun in another state may not be subject to the federal prohibition of possessing a firearm within a school zone, and they may carry or possess the concealed handgun on all public lands under the federal government’s jurisdiction.
Both bills have garnered significant support. It might be possible for national concealed carry reciprocity to become a possibility soon, making it possible for Professional Truck Drivers to get access to personal safety tools that can prevent attacks and crimes on the road. Combined with better access to safe locations to park and a greater focus on safer practices by the drivers, it could make trucking a much safer profession.
This is just a brief over-view of how you can protect yourself, your equipment and your cargo while on the road, for more information please do your due-diligence and research this subject matter.