ALEXANDRIA, Va. - As many as three million U.S. truckers will be trained to identify and report suspicious drivers and vehicles in an industry-wide effort to quell potential terrorist threats.The proj...
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – As many as three million U.S. truckers will be trained to identify and report suspicious drivers and vehicles in an industry-wide effort to quell potential terrorist threats.
The project – implemented in particular to protect tunnels and bridges – has been announced by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) as a response to continuing concerns that trucks hauling fuel or hazardous materials could be used as a bomb.
“The goal is simple,” says the ATA’s Mike Russell. “We’re going to do our level best to see that a truck is not used as a weapon.”
Trucking companies have already taken steps to conceal routes and cargo while encouraging truckers to lock their rigs to minimize the risk of hijacking.
Now, the industry will build on a safety watch program in 12 states to include security measures nationwide. The program will feature a color-coded threat assessment system matched to one used by the federal government to gauge a range of potential terror threats.
A toll-free hotline will be established to handle calls from truckers, with the information they report being passed along to local law enforcement. Activity on highways and around tunnels, bridges and seaport terminals will be watched more closely.
“We know what should be on the road and what should not be on the road,” adds Russell. For instance, truckers will take closer notice of driver behavior and stopped vehicles. Drivers would also be updated regularly on cargo thefts, arrests and truck hijackings.
The industry initiative follows a report by the Transportation Department May 10, that found federal and state controls to prevent the fraudulent acquisition of commercial truck licences remain inadequate.
The ATA can be reached by calling 703-838-1880.
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