Our way of doing business has changed dramatically in the past years thanks to events that have occurred around the world and, most specifically, events that have impacted us here at home.

The vision of the terrorist threat within the trucking industry is not uniform. However, there is a general concern: the use of stolen trucks and cargo to carry out a terrorist act. Other perceived threats include the transport of illicit cargo and the use of criminal means (e.g., vandalism) to support terrorist groups. Some commercial trucking companies, as distinct from rental and lease companies, see no terrorist threat at all. This observation is not unexpected, considering that truck industry assets useful in the commission of a terrorist act are readily available through legitimate means and at low cost (i.e., trucks can be easily leased, rented, borrowed, and/or bought on credit). Indeed, the most noted terrorist acts conducted in the United States with trucks involved leased trucks with legally obtained cargo (i.e., the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York City and the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City).

Although there is little uniformity in the perception of the specific threat, the level of general concern is high, as revealed by the security measures implemented after 9/11. These measures include broad-based and significant changes in policies and practices, including issuance of employee identification (ID), measures to guard property, improvement of communications with cell phones and two-way radio, provision of focused training, and significant changes in hiring practices (e.g., more thorough background checks). "Low-cost/no-cost" procedural measures, such as route changes to avoid higher risk areas, parking in more visible areas, vehicle inspections and confirmation of cargo seal integrity after stops, obtaining driver information prior to pick-ups and ID confirmation on arrival, and provision of cargo contents on only a need-to-know basis, were mentioned by some companies. However, these measures may not be currently used to their fullest extent. The greatest security enhancement will probably be achieved when approached on both procedural and technological levels.

Many companies plan for implementation of further security improvements. Unlike the procedural measures already implemented, planned measures are largely technology-based devices to track, alert, communicate, and observe. Many, and possibly adequate, technology measures/options exist to meet most needs, with one key problem - cost. While cost is the most commonly expressed problem, there was also a frequent statement of the need for establishment of a uniform federal operator (driver) identification system. The industry research needs identified by the survey respondents are largely addressed in ongoing government and industry programs.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.