Trucks Increasingly Used as Weapons, TSA Warns Of Possible Terrorist Attacks

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released a six-page report last week urging carriers to be on guard for terrorists hijacking trucks and driving them into crowds, creating weapons of mass destruction.

The TSA states that within the last three years, there were 17 such attacks, accounting for 173 fatalities and 667 injuries.1Three of which occurred in the last year alone include:

*The attack in Nice, France last July when Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhel drove a tractor trailer into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day, killing 87 people, among them children, and injuring over 400.  The number of fatalities bypassed an attack in 2011 in which Anders Breivik killed 77 people, making it the “most lethal terrorist attack in the West carried out by a lone terrorist.” 2

*Last December, Anis Amri hijacked a semi-truck and drove it into the Berlin Christmas market, killing a dozen people.

*Just last month, news spread about Rakhmat Akilov stealing a beer truck while it was making a delivery, almost running the driver down, and ramming it into the Ahlens department store in Stockholm, Sweden, killing 4 and injuring 15.

The thought of trucks being used as weapons of mass destruction has grown on people’s minds since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Shortly after the attacks, the NY Times posted an article warning the industry that “America’s vast fleet of trucks, particularly rigs hauling loads of explosive fuel or toxic chemicals, would be ideal terrorist weapons.” 3In fact, the article pointed out that “nearly 800,000 loads of hazardous cargo move on American highways each day, while about 50,000 trips are made daily by gasoline tankers, many of which hold as much fuel as a Boeing 757,” making trucks just as destructive in terrorist attacks as the planes were in 2001. 3

The TSA report stated that terrorists are planning more attacks using this method and provided countermeasures that should be taken, among these a “See Something, Say Something” approach in which any suspicious activity or potential threat is to be reported to the proper authorities.1

Additionally, the TSA explained to CBS news that the measures they provided to help avoid these attacks are already “hallmarks of industry best practices” and include “avoiding the area of congestion due to special events, exercising awareness of suspicious activity, practicing common sense safety and security habits and deploying significant security measures like vehicle tracking, alarms and specialized locks, as well as ongoing driver awareness training and driver vetting.”1

Road Scholar Transport has put the following in place to help aid against stolen trucks and potential terrorist attacks:

*Self-Created “Pentagon Distribution Model” providing 100% accountable secure transport by focusing on technology, visibility, protocols, equipment, and audit trails.

*Drivers, trailers, and power units are all equipped with redundant GPS tracking.

*Uniformed drivers with the toughest background checks in the business, constantly trained on the latest cargo transport threats.

*Modern equipment with state-of-the-art rollover and braking controls.  Trailers are locked with U.S. Customs approved Navilock.

*Around the clock dispatch and operations center.  All of our facilities are physically fenced and have 24 x 7 x 365 video surveillance.  Road Scholar facilities (and customer facilities upon request) are geo-fenced.  Route geo-fencing is also implemented.

*We NEVER suffered a full truckload loss.  President and CEO, Jim Barrett, has been a repeat guest on “Tough Talk” by Joe Peters, anti-terrorism expert.  Road Scholar Transport is also a member of the Cargo Security Alliance.

*Our brightly colored awareness trucks make our fleet easily recognizable and harder to steal.

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