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HOW DRIVERS CAN GUARD AGAINST CARGO THEFT

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

Cargo theft continues to surge across the U.S. While many criminals target high-value loads, other thieves steal whatever cargo they can. Yet, there are several precautions taken by Coastal Trucking LLC Georgia to help guard against cargo theft:


  • Pre-plan your route. With a lack of secure parking nationwide and hours of service rules that limit driving time, mapping out your destination is more important than ever. Identify safe places to refuel, eat and stop theft hot spots to avoid. Also, confirm the receiver’s unloading schedule so the delivery can be made during those times.


  • Vary your route and stops whenever possible to avoid becoming predictable. Thieves frequently monitor drivers on multiple runs to find out the most opportune time to strike.


  • Beware of occupied vehicles outside distribution centers, especially those within view of loading docks and exits. Criminals often surveil facilities, follow loaded trailers as they depart, and wait for drivers to stop.


  • Arrive at the pick-up location fully fueled, fed, and well rested, and have sufficient hours to travel for an extended period after loading. It is less likely that criminals will follow you for multiple hours, and they may turn their attention elsewhere.


  • Once the trailer is loaded, secure the doors with high-security compliant barrier seals and hardened padlocks. Lock the cab before departing, and keep windows closed until you’re on the open road.


  • When picking up a loaded, sealed trailer, verify that the seal number on the trailer matches the number on the bill of lading. Recent incidents include criminals breaking into preloaded, pre-sealed trailers at shipping facilities and then resealing the container after stealing some of its contents. The theft is only discovered upon delivery of the load.


  • Pay attention to your surroundings, and be particularly observant at night. Keep cargo and trip details private; don’t share information on the radio, phone, social media, or in public. Beware of vehicles following you and of anyone asking questions about your load. Report suspicious activity to authorities immediately.


  • Watch for possible hijacking ploys. When stopped in traffic, leave enough space ahead so you can easily pull away should trouble arise. If someone wants you to pull over due to a problem with your vehicle or an alleged accident, drive to a police station or high-visibility area before exiting the cab. If you sense danger, press the panic button on your vehicle’s tracking device if you have one.


  • If you must park a loaded trailer, select only well-lit, high-traffic lots, preferably with security cameras and/or guards. Carefully back your trailer up against buildings, fences, or other trailers to make it difficult or impossible for thieves to get inside.


  • If you must leave the vehicle unattended, do so for as short a time as possible. Close the windows, turn the vehicle off, and survey outside the truck before exiting. Lock the doors and take the keys with you. Utilize all available security equipment—engine kill switches, fuel pump cutoff devices, and air cuff and steering column locks. When you return to the truck, stay alert for suspicious individuals. Check doors, seals, and locks for signs of tampering, and relock the cab doors. If dropping the trailer is unavoidable, use a kingpin and/or landing gear lock.


  • Communicate regularly with your company (be sure to abide by federal mobile phone restriction rules). Alert dispatch to Coastal Trucking Company if your route changes or during extended stops. Carry your cell phone whenever you’re away from the load.


  • Keep information about the identification of the tractor and trailer—license plate numbers, container numbers, descriptions—on you at all times. Law enforcement will need this information should a cargo theft occur.

  • Don’t leave trailers unattended over weekends or holiday breaks. Cargo heists can occur anytime, but they tend to spike during weekends and extended holidays because more shipments are left unattended for longer periods of time. Thieves also see weekends and holiday breaks as an opportunity to take advantage of unguarded tarps, chains, binders, and straps, so remain vigilant and lock your equipment up.

Article provided by Lancer Insurance co.

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