You would hope, given the hardships currently facing the trucking industry, that those on the front lines would bond together and help each other get through. Instead, there are increasingly worrying reports of diesel thefts from coast-to-coast.
The B.C. Forest Safety Council issued a bulletin this summer, claiming that fuel thieves have been draining truckers’ tanks at a number of places, including: overnight truck stops; long-term parking lots; work sites where equipment is parked; and in trucking yards.
“Almost anywhere there’s a tank and an opportunity to tap into it,” the group surmised.
On the other coast, the APTA released a similar bulletin earlier this summer, warning of an increase in fuel thefts there as well.
“It is advised that you keep fuel cards and pin numbers separate as well as increase vigilance in your facilities,” APTA chief Peter Nelson advised in a letter to members. “This is a nasty downside to the rise in fuel prices in that it has created a lucrative black market for diesel fuel.”
While I’m sickened by the thought of truckers stealing from truckers, perhaps there’s something even more sinister at play. Maybe the fuel thefts are the work of organized criminals. Somehow that seems easier to stomach. Nonetheless, truckers are getting screwed and it’s even worse south of the border.
A report from the OOIDA publication Land Line suggests that truckers are having their APU covers and battery box lids taken off their trucks and sold for scrap metal. An APU cover that can net about $15 as scrap metal can cost a trucker a few hundred bucks to replace, the story says. Just where is it going to end?
All truckers can do is become extra vigilant during these times and take extra steps to protect themselves from being victimized. Here are a few tips from the B.C. Forest Safety Council on how to protect your fuel: Purchase a locking fuel cap; fill up in the morning rather than the night before; closely monitor the fuel gauge; report all thefts to the authorities so they’re aware there’s a problem; and secure the area your park when possible.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies