As monumental as it was on May 1 to finally eliminate one of the masterminds of terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies, it most likely did little to reduce the risk of future attacks. For a small motor carrier, what are the odds that they, or one of their truckers, will become a victim of terrorism?

According to a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) titled Commercial Truck Bus Safety Synthesis Program Security Measures in Trucking, a terrorist isn't inclined to acquire trucks and materials by hijacking or stealing a truck. Terrorists need time to plan, acquire materials and execute. If they commit a crime while planning or gathering materials, law enforcement immediately works to solve that crime. This gives law enforcement more time to discover the plot and less time for the terrorist to plan and execute the act.

Terrorists can legally obtain trucks under the radar by utilizing truck rental agencies, leasing, or purchasing new or used trucks. Explosive and poisonous materials such as diesel, gasoline, fertilizers, and chemicals can be easily obtained legally.

Another more obvious threat that concerns trucking — not only when it comes to terrorists but also the larger threat of criminals — is the lack of available 10-hour truck parking nationwide. Any time a trucker parks in an abandoned parking lot, or on a highway on-ramp for his federally mandated rest break, he or she is vulnerable to becoming a crime statistic.

What should FMCSA, DOT and Homeland Security be doing to increase the safety and security of truckers and, accordingly, the nation?

  1. Work diligently on fixing the nationwide truck-parking problem by providing safe, secure parking for truckers to take their mandatory rest breaks.

  2. Inspect every shipping container entering the U.S. by ship, train, plane or truck to ensure it doesn't contain anything shipped by a terrorist.

  3. Require all truck rental vehicles be equipped with EOBRs and GPS tracking. Require a background check be performed on anyone renting one.

What should truckers be doing for their own security?

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.

  2. Be selective as to where you park.

  3. Walk in wide-open spaces, not between trailers or buildings. Stay out of dark parking lots and alleys.

  4. Never discuss what you're hauling with anybody except dispatch, the shipper, receiver or law enforcement.

What should small carriers be doing for security?

  1. Work with your drivers to help them locate safe places to park each night.

  2. Be sure the only people who know what your trucks are hauling actually have a need to know.

  3. Always think safety and security in every step of your operation.

  4. Always know where your trucks and drivers are located and have a check-in system so you know immediately when there's a problem.

Common sense is the best personal safety tool. Know what's going on around you at all times. Never let your guard down. Above all, always trust your instincts.


Contact Tim Brady at 731-749-8567 or at www.timothybrady.com