The trucking industry is a prime target for theft and criminal enterprise. Thieves look for vulnerable trucks where cargo can easily be stolen. Fortunately, drivers can take measures to protect valuable cargo. Low-tech measures, such as king pin locks, glad hand locks or fuel-line shut-offs might slow the bad guys down, but aren’t always enough to protect a truck.
Security Starts With Awareness
Tight security for truckers starts before drivers ever get into the cab. Training employees about security issues can help them be more aware and understand why certain procedures are so important. Here are some tips to help your company implement solutions to cargo theft
- Use technology to route shipments. GPS tracking systems can now send a security alarm to the company if a truck goes off its route. Factor in security when routing. Avoid hot spots where cargo theft is higher.
- Have drivers maintain regular contact with dispatch.
- Keep cargo moving, because it’s more likely that a load will be stolen when it’s unattended. Teams are recommended to help keep cargo on the road and to give drivers another person to lean on when tired or losing focus. If a team isn’t a possibility, drive in tandem with another truck.
- Never leave trucks unattended or allow drivers to take a load home. Emphasize that drivers should always stop in well-lit places or a secure yard.
- When parking, put trucks tail to tail to prevent rear trailers from being opened with goods on board. Alternatives to parking tail to tail include parking against a building or another object that doesn’t allow the door to be opened.
- Offer specialized training against cargo theft. Teach drivers what to look for and how to drive with increased awareness.
- Make sure drivers know to be careful about what they say. Don’t talk about the cargo in the truck or give out route information, especially on the CB.
- Ensure all drivers follow delivery and pickup protocols. Make sure drivers request ID from personnel who unload trucks. Audit protocols periodically.
- Check for dishonest employees. Run background checks on all employees who have access to shipping and routing information. Watch for employees who are loose with standards and don’t allow security breaches to go unnoticed.
- Use low-tech measures. Drivers should take the keys with them when the truck is unattended and doors need to be locked. Before walking away from a trailer, check locks. It’s easy to be talking to someone at a rest station and forget.
- Be suspicious of people who claim you hit their car. This is a ruse that thieves use to get people to stop.
- Work with other trucking companies to get information about potential issues in your community and industry. Alliances can really increase the safety of cargo and drivers because you work together to prevent theft.
- Many thefts occur close to pickup points and terminals. Be extra careful after picking up a load. Give drivers time to get away from the pickup point before stopping.
When All Else Fails
Fleet owners should have a plan in case a driver is hijacked. Giving the load over to a thief is generally preferred than getting hurt or worse to protect the freight. Instead of fighting, teach drivers to be a good witness to give law enforcement a better chance at apprehending the criminals.
Observe everything. Don’t just look at what is happening but pay attention to sounds and what is being said. Notice details. Keep a business card with company information and contact phone numbers in your wallet or on your person. Notify the authorities immediately.
It doesn’t matter whether your company is small or large, cyber threats are a growing problem in today’s business industry. Hackers aren’t only trying to steal information or data. Some just want to create chaos by disrupting the infrastructure of an important industry. Cyber security for fleets has to be a priority. Here are some tips to help your company create and maintain a plan that prevents security issues:
- Train employees to generate strong passwords and to recognize phishing emails
- Have a way to encrypt emails which contain secure information
- Use best practices for security protocol
- Use comprehensive antivirus and malware programs
- Update software and operating systems for security patches
- Limit password attempts
- Be proactive in maintaining your website and OS
- Backup your software
- Have a disaster recovery plan in place
- Review your IT department and update as necessary
Audit Your Security Infrastructure
Don’t be afraid to check drivers and other employees to ensure that they are operating securely. You may find gaps in your plan by conducting audits. Talk to others in the trucking industry to find out how their businesses are operating safely. Make safety and security part of your regular risk management plan to prevent theft or hacking.