Truck Driver Safety by hijacking

Truck Driver Safety

Did you see that a truck driver was hijacked on August 2, 2023? The hijacking was not the stealing of a truck or just a load. It was the truck, trailer, and driver. All three were hijacked. My concern is for the truck driver.

Here is the story reported to WHIO-TV7, a news television station in Ohio. Here is the abbreviated story.

Two suspects were stopped by the police while in a car and drove away from the officer. The officer gave chase. The suspects in their car went to a local truck stop. At the truck stop, they then hijacked a tractor-trailer and driver. The truck hit the police car while leaving the truck stop.

The truck driver was released by the two suspects with minor injuries. Police later shot the two suspects, and both died in the hospital.

So why am I telling you this very recent story? Truck driver safety.

Every truck driver needs to protect themselves. Protecting yourself starts with being aware of your surroundings. Protecting yourself means parking in well-lit areas and using well-known truck stops. Before leaving your truck or tractor-trailer, look around and ensure no one is waiting for you. As soon as you leave the truck, make sure that you lock your unit. Most thieves and hijackers are looking for an easy and quick mark.

You have heard before that while you are in the truck stops or using your CB radio, you do not discuss the contents of your trailer. Don’t help the thieves.

When at the truck stop, be aware if someone is following you or watching you a little too closely. Always be on alert.

When you are traveling on the highways, watch for any vehicles that are following you. It is unlikely that a car with young or middle-aged men in it would be going at the same speed as you, the truck driver, at any time. Usually, the truck is moving slower than most cars. So, it would be weird that a car with two or more men, the tractor-trailer driver, is behind you for more than just a few minutes.

What if you need clarification on whether a car or small truck is following you? Slow down a little and see what the reaction is. Does the other vehicle keep pace, or do they pass? If they stay behind you, then they may be following you.

Generally, the bad guys will only follow a truck for up to three hours. The bad guys are getting too far from their home base. And remember that if you are picking up a load, the bad guys know what the different companies are shipping. Some will even know that out of door 19, for example, it is usually laptops being loaded. And by the way, it does not have to be expensive loads that get stolen. When I worked for the insurance company, we had a load of rags stolen. It was worth less than $5000. And yet, it was still stolen. So the bad guys will steal anything if it looks easy.

If you think you are being followed, follow your company’s policy. Most companies will tell you to either call the company or call the police. What might the police do? They will ask you many questions while they have you on the phone, and they should respond to your needs. I know of situations in which they have dispatched a patrol car to ask questions of the other vehicle’s occupants. The police know that cargo theft is a problem.

The purpose of this article is to remind you that you are essential. Your family and those who love and care want you back home safely. They need you to take care while on the road. You getting home includes driving safely and protecting yourself. Your truck and cargo are insured. Don’t do anything that puts you in danger. Protect yourself at all times and be aware of your surroundings.

Chris Harris has been around trucks all his life. His Grandfather and Father both owned trucking companies. Chris started in the trucking industry in his early 20’s and ever since has been in the involved. He started his career as a driver, then manager then into the safety department. Chris learned how insurance companies viewed safety when he joined a trucking insurer. Over that 14-year period with the Insurnace company, he honed his safety expertise.  In 2015, Chris started on his own, forming Safety Dawg Inc. Safety Dawg Inc is a well-trusted safety consultant company who helps their clients with their CVOR, SMS, Trucking insurance and compliance. Over the years, Chris has earned the designations, Certified Director of Safety (CDS), Canadian Risk Management (CRM) and Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP). And Chris now is a co-host of a weekly podcast. Every Friday he releases a new episode of the “Trucking Risk and Insurance Podcast.”  The show appears on YouTube and in your favourite podcast player.