experts believe a heightened sense of awareness of your surroundings is your
most effective weapon against an attack. Crimes against truckers are most
likely to occur during transitions. Be aware of everything around you,
including the reputation of the area where you are stopping.
beats being aware of your surroundings,” Ward says. “You should consider every
stop a potentially hazardous situation. You never know when you are being
watched. In most cases, the criminal knows the area better than you do. He
knows exactly when you are vulnerable. Never let your guard down, ever.”
says good security practices begin before he starts his trip. “Plan your route
down to the last detail. I don’t recommend stopping the truck for the first
150-200 miles in case someone is watching you,” he says. He recommends truckers
plan their route to include a safe stopping place and to keep friends, family
or dispatch aware of their plan. “You have to let someone know where you are
going and what time you expect to be there.” On the other hand, don’t tell
random strangers on the Internet or CB radio where you are going. “Never talk
about your load, ask directions or talk about your route to a stranger.”
Planning includes where you stop for the night. “Never park on a ramp; they are
notoriously unsafe,” Wood says.
sounds simple, but keeping a padlock on your trailer, loaded or unloaded, is a
huge deterrent to thieves and one less reason they’ll target you,” Wood says.
4. Park it
Mullings, president and CEO of NATSO, says that since 9/11 truck stops have
beefed up security and increased the use of cameras. “When people know they are
being monitored, it makes for a good deterrent,” she says. She also credits
drivers for being perceptive about who should and shouldn’t be lurking around
a driver sees something that’s not right, he should report it immediately,”
Mullings says. Major Mark Savage of the Colorado State Police agrees and says,
“Your cell phone is one of your best defenses against crime. Call the police if
you sense something amiss. Don’t look the other way if you witness a crime.”
have been attacked by assailants hiding behind and even under trucks at night.
“Park under a light and as close to the truck stop as you can. Don’t go out if
you see something suspicious,” Savage says.
Sound the alarm
who travel with dogs say their pet is the best deterrent against crime. “Nobody
is going to bother me when Miss Lillie (a 60-pound English bulldog) is around,”
Wood says. Even a small dog can act as an alarm, alerting the driver to an
intruder. Long says one female driver he knows strings a row of tin cans from
door to door so she can hear if someone is trying to break in.
the worst happens and you are attacked, use whatever you have in your cab for
self-defense. Truckers have various items at their disposal, such as a
tire-thumper, heavy-duty flashlight, hammer or fire extinguisher. However,
things get complicated if you “plan” to use something illegally — like wasp
spray — for self-defense. Mace and even pepper spray are illegal in some
states, and legal consequences may be severe. If you plan to carry a stun gun
or flare gun, be aware those products are regulated and restricted in some
states. Don’t carry something for self-defense if you have not researched its
legality in the states you drive through.
Can you carry a gun in your cab?
stirs a heated debate like truckers carrying firearms for protection. One of
the most pervasive myths about this topic is that there’s a federal law against
drivers carrying a firearm in a commercial motor vehicle. No such law exists
and, in fact, there is law that says you can.
the federal law is not the issue. According to Allen Smith, author of Truth
About Trucking (www.truthabouttrucking.com), truckers have two major hurdles
to overcome on this issue: Being legal and not violating any city, county or
state law of any place they will be passing through and abiding by company
have to follow the laws of the jurisdiction you travel through, including city,
county and state laws. Most major trucking companies don’t allow firearms in
vehicles, and many shippers and receivers absolutely forbid firearms. You can’t
transport a firearm across the Canadian border and you can’t take them onto
Below is a list of some sources about gun rights:
Have you ever been the victim of a crime while on the job?
etrucker.com poll, 54 responses
recent Truckers News poll asked readers what they carry in their truck for
Thumper — 35%
etrucker.com poll, 142 responses
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