Protecting Cargo During the Holidays
The risk of cargo theft tends to increase over holiday weekends. One of the reasons for this is due to the fact that most drivers are spending their holiday weekends at home instead of on the road.
According to the OOIDA’s director of security operations, Doug Morris, one of the biggest mistakes that truck drivers make is leaving a loaded trailer by itself for a long period of time. They should be parked in a secure compound if possible. According to Transport Security Inc., which is a cargo security company, a compound is only secured if it has a chain link fence made out of 9-guage material. The fence must also be eight feet high and should have barbed wire at the top. If a secured compound is not available, Morris recommends parking a loaded trailer in a very well lit area that doesn’t have a history of theft.
Transport Security has several suggestions to further decrease the risk of cargo theft. Any lots containing cargo that is awaiting transfer should have security patrols. Drivers should also close their trailer doors before they drive into open view. This way, possible thieves will not be able to see what the cargo is if they are surveying the area.
Other devices that will ensure the security of cargo include steering locks, padlocks for the trailers, kingpin locks and a GPS tracking unit. Morris also recommends that drivers never keep a spare set of keys inside the truck. Drivers should always maintain communication with dispatch, especially if they are stopping for an extended amount of time at rest areas or truck stops.
Morris revealed that there have been cases of theft that resulted from information gathered from truck stop employees and even from casual conversations with the drivers themselves. Drivers should refrain from talking about their cargo, their route or their destination to others.
Even if the driver is very careful and follows all of these tips, their cargo can still be stolen. In can simply be a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Morris suggests having a plan in the event that this happens. Drivers should keep enough money on them to get themselves home. They should also have all of their truck and trailer information on hand at all times, so that they can give it to police if their truck is taken. This information should include license plate numbers, VIN numbers and any other details about the truck.
Members of OOIDA should call the TRACER (Transportation Alert Communication and Emergency Response program) hotline to report any thefts. These will be posted on TRACER’s website and will be relayed to promote recovery efforts.