Last year, Transport Topics reported that cargo thefts were on the decline, but the value of stolen goods increased. Oklahoma may not be in the top states for cargo thefts, that doesn’t mean drivers don’t have to be aware. California, New Jersey and Texas were the top three states, which makes sense. The largest container ports are in California and New Jersey, while Texas is a hub of cross-border freight. Today’s drivers face a risk each time they take a load. Let’s take a look at security tips for truck drivers and see how drivers can be more secure when hauling freight.

Awareness Is Key

Drivers have to be alert before they ever get into the cab. Training should begin on day one of employment. Hopefully, the company has implemented security plans. Drivers should be made aware of the importance of protocols to reduce cargo theft. Here are some key procedures that should be in place:
 
  • Dispatch should stay in touch with drivers on a regular basis.
  • Cargo is more likely to be stolen when it’s stopped. Keep cargo moving. Team drivers are generally preferred for security.
  • Don’t leave trucks unattended. When a truck is stopped, use locks and park tail to tail to prevent the rear trailer from being opened. Parking against a building is another option that can prevent theft.
  • Don’t take trucks home. Park in a secure yard or a well-lit location.
  • Don’t talk about what is in your truck. Don’t give out route information.
  • Use padlocks and low-tech measures. Lock doors. Double check locks when stopped. Take keys.
  • Be suspicious. There are reports of cars hitting a semi to get the driver to pull over.
  • Follow delivery and pickup procedures. Drivers should check badges of people unloading trucks.
  • The highest risk for cargo theft is near pickup points and terminals. Have time to get far away from one of these places before stopping.
  • Use technology to guide trucks through safer neighborhoods. GPS technology can actually track trucks and alerts a company when it goes off-route.

Know What to Do If You Are Robbed

Drivers should know how to be a good witness. If a load is hijacked, it’s better to turn it over and stay alive than to put up a fight and die. Notice everything. Listen to what is being said. Many times, drivers are the key to helping law enforcement recover a truck. Drivers should carry a business card in their wallet or pocket with company information to be able to contact the right people. Law enforcement should be called immediately.

Have a Security Plan

The best risk management plan doesn’t work unless its implemented and updated. Audit drivers to ensure they’re following protocol. Talk about what’s working and what isn’t. Make sure drivers have the resources to protect cargo when they’re on the road.
 
Staying safe on the road is vital in the trucking industry. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. It’s when you get complacent that you become vulnerable. Oklahoma itself may be a very safe state, but thieves are watching.