Organized crime is in the business of load theft, and business is booming. Not only that, but the threat of terrorism is ever-present, and cross-border drug smuggling is a growing industry.
And none of those criminal activities would be viable if they didn’t have access to commercial trucks.
That means, as the driver pool shrinks and you’re forced to hire new drivers with less experience than you’d like, you’ll face an increased prospect of finding candidates who pose a threat to your business.
Imagine what the placement of just one “bandit trucker” in your organization could do to you. How would you like to phone up your biggest customer to inform him that one of your new drivers just disappeared with his load?
I can’t think of a better reason to give your current hiring and security procedures a good going-over to see if there are any weaknesses.
For example, I see many — too many, in fact — fleets that don’t require a police clearance certificate from potential new hires.
Believe it or not, some carriers don’t even ask new drivers to produce a current abstract and detailed work history with contact names for reference.
It’s essential that you check references, even if it is time-consuming. Also, investigate any prolonged gaps in employment. Who knows what the guy did in those intervening years. It could have been time.
With the applicant’s permission, you might also want to administer drug and alcohol tests.
I know these procedures take a bit of extra time, but think instead of the consequences of not doing them.
Here’s another detail you might be overlooking. Insist on receiving an original copy of a police clearance certificate. Never accept a photocopy. With today’s technology, it’s frighteningly easy to create a convincing duplicate.
What about the drivers you already have?
Recent information from US and Canadian drug interdiction enforcement tells us that “drivers are being approached by professional smugglers” offering big dollars to help with the cross-border drug traffic. Typically, a driver can earn upwards of $200 for every pound of illegal cargo. If you do the math, a 100-lb shipment could earn a driver $20,000. With this kind of money on the table, there are sure to be a lot of tempted drivers.
Your first defence, of course, is to treat your drivers professionally. Do that and they won’t even be tempted.
But still, it pays to take a good hard look at your security system.
Stolen tractor trailers are cause for real concern. Government agencies have acknowledged that a tractor trailer can be an effective delivery platform for a terrorist bomb and since 1982 US interests have been attacked 16 times by terrorists using vehicle bombs.
Not only that, but if something can be shipped, it can be stolen.
I have conducted walkarounds at supposedly secure yards and have seen fencing gaps, weak fence materials, and snow or garbage cans piled up so high beside a fence that a child could climb into the yard. A truly secure yard not only requires good fences but also security devices, such as lighting and surveillance systems.
Thefts can occur at any point in the shipping process. So there’s probably value in developing an en-route security plan for your drivers.
For more information visit: www.fmcsa.dot.gov. Click on “Safety & Security.” You might also call your local police to see whether they employ a “load theft” unit, who may be available to meet and assist you in protecting your fleet operation.
Kudos: Finally, after many years of outstanding service and contributions to improving road safety, Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Cam Woolley has been recognized as Ontario’s Top Cop.
You’ve probably seen Cam on the news from time to time; he’s an engaging and helpful policeman and has worked at many professional driver safety functions over the years. Congrats, Cam!
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