While not high on the radar screen of most trucking-industry risk managers, terrorism remains a nagging concern in the back of their minds. Concerns are legitimate. For example, according to Ron Thornton, CPCU, president and chief executive officer of Inland Marine Underwriters Association in New York City, despite government inspection programs such as C-TPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism), only a small percentage of containers coming into the United States are actually inspected.
The potential problem is that the uninspected containers are then loaded onto trucks and transported all around the country. Another concern relates to terrorists hijacking or otherwise stealing trucks to use as weapons.
"As such, trucking companies have heightened their security on their own premises, as well as control of vehicles, especially those carrying hazardous commodities that could be used by terrorists, such as oil or chemicals," says Thornton.
Many companies also use Global Positioning System satellites to track their trucks on the road. One innovative national program to combat terrorism was introduced by the American Trucking Associations. With the large number of tractor trailers on the nation's highways, the ATA feels drivers could be an important line of self-defense, watching for suspicious behaviors.
"The ATA has begun educating drivers on how to do this," states Thornton. "Since this time, there have been numerous reports by drivers of suspicious activities, such as being followed or videotaped."
December 1, 2005
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