RECOGNISE THESE TIPS
As reported elsewhere in this feature, while hazmat transporters in the USA have been identified as being particularly vulnerable to terrorist infiltration, the call has also gone out from the American Trucking Associations for all truck drivers to be more vigilant in practicing security measures.
Interesting is that the tips issued to drivers are in line with those tips we have been issuing to South Africa truck drivers for years - except in our case, they have been issued to help drivers avoid vehicle theft and hijackings. The list includes such hints as:
- Maintaining regular communications with your dispatcher.
- Report any suspicious activities to the local police or if an emergency, contact 911.
- Varying routes when possible.
- Park in areas where other truckers are present.
- Do not stop on dark roadways or in deserted areas while waiting to make deliveries.
- Use reputable truck stops along your route.
- If possible, drive in tandem.
- When possible, go directly to your delivery point without making any stops.
- Be aware of vehicles that are following your truck and of strangers asking you questions.
- Be suspicious of individuals asking you to stop as a result of an alleged traffic accident. If unsure whether an accident occurred, drive to a police station or to a well- lit busy location before stopping.
- Always lock your tractor doors and make sure all trailer and container doors are secured with a heavy-duty padlock.
- Keep your tractor windows rolled up.
- Don't talk about your load on the C.B. radio.
- Do not pick-up hitchhikers.
- Remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Stay alert!
Please do not think FleetWatch is being tacky by latching onto a world tragedy to drive home a point, but we find it a terrible indictment against our crime ridden society that South African truck drivers have been urged to follow these rules for years. They are not at all new to us and that tells us a lot about how far off we have been from living in a secure society.
Further credence is given to this point when one goes through the list of suggestions issued by the New Jersey Trucking Association to its members regarding securing their terminal facilities. The list of tips includes, among others:
- To establish security policies and procedures.
- To fence facilities.To ensure entrance and exit gates are closed and secured when not in use.
- To maintain well-lit facilities.
- To lock and seal all equipment parked in the facility.
- To limit visitors and escort them to their destination and to ensure that visitors are identified by a pass or badge.
- To utilise security patrols with varied patterns.
- To be diligent regarding hiring practices.
Again, South Africa companies have been operating to these practices for years. They are, in fact, the basics of business operations.
There is a lesson for South Africa in all this and it lies in the absolute truth that we need to view crime in a far more serious light that it has been viewed in the past.
Perhaps we have come to accept the high risk conditions under which we live under as being normal. They are not and evidence of this is that the rules now being issued to American truck drivers and companies in a time of what is probably the highest security risk that country has faced, are rules we have come to accept as part of our daily lives. That tells us that our citizens have been living at an unacceptably high level of risk for many years. And that is unacceptable.