As we noted in a previous blog about cargo theft, the incidents of theft have increased in recent years. The cost of this issue is high for all Americans. Not only does cargo theft force the cost of goods to increase, it also endangers the lives and safety of truck drivers.
Every trucking carrier should have policies and procedures for their drivers to utilize to prevent cargo theft, as well as in the event of a cargo theft or high-jacking. It’s important for the company to make this information available to its drivers. If you are a truck driver and your company has not trained you about how to react in a robbery situation, it is in your best interest to seek out this information. Cargo thieves generally do not seem to be interested in harming the drivers, but there are ways for drivers to avoid being easier targets.
Below are a few tips we suggest for keeping truck drivers as safe as possible:
1. Do not leave a load unattended, and park it in a secure lot. Often a driver will transport a load within a certain timeframe, but the receiver won’t accept it right away upon arrival. Carriers’ yards should be equipped with safety measures and monitoring systems, but sometimes these can be breached. During longer trips when truckers will have to rest, trip planning is key to finding secure places to stop. Drivers or carriers should be aware of possible secure lots along routes. These lots will have heavy surveillance and will be safer for cargo as well as drivers.
2. Use secure locks. Something as simple as locking up a trailer with a secure device such a kingpin lock or a gladhand lock can deter theft. If a thief sees a driver locking up his load, the criminal may move down the line to a driver who hasn’t taken that precaution. Some driver think a large or high-tech lock acts as a target for thieves, but this is generally not true. Thieves will usually pursue the easiest target. High-tech gadgets can also prevent theft. For high-value items such as electronics and pharmaceuticals, there are tracking systems that can remotely notify the driver or the dispatch of tampering.
3. Be aware of cargo theft trends, such a targeted items and more dangerous states. According to FreightWatch, an international cargo security firm, food and beverages surpassed electronics in terms of sought-after items for thieves in the U.S. in 2010.
There are also certain regions that are more at risk for cargo theft. Florida, California and Texas have long held the top three positions for most cargo thefts, but New Jersey saw a 142 percent increase in 2010, bringing it to second place ahead of Florida and Texas.
4. Take extra precautions during holidays when cargo theft is more likely. Holiday weekends may be when cargo is most likely to be stolen. According to FreightWatch, Thanksgiving weekend is the number one weekend for cargo thefts, followed by Fourth of July. Over a holiday weekend, cargo is often left vulnerable while trailers are parked at terminals or drop yards for two or three days at a time. FreightWatch also says the holiday season preceding Christmas brings about an increase in cargo thefts, as more high-value, high-demand goods are transported.
5. Do not try to protect your cargo in the event of a theft. No load is worth your life. Cooperate with the thieves’ demands and try to get away from the scene as quickly as possible.
If you have been the victim of cargo theft or an accident resulting from attempted cargo theft, contact us today. In addition to criminal charges, you may be able to receive compensation from a variety of sources, including the criminals, your carrier or the company who owns the secure lot.