Director of Safety for CalArk, Leslie Stout, wants to give you a heads up and ask for your extra vigilance this time of year. Motor carriers should be mindful of the increased risk of theft as the holidays approach. December is a busy shopping month, and to prepare for it, warehouses and trailers are filling up with valuable inventory.
Here are some security tips for our drivers:
• Always lock tractor doors and make sure all trailer and container doors are secured with a heavy-duty padlock.
• Keep tractor windows rolled up until you are on the open road.
• Always carry information on your person concerning identification of the tractor and trailers, chassis, or containers you are pulling. This includes license numbers, container numbers, and physical characteristics. Law enforcement can’t act on a cargo theft without this information.
• Maintain regular communication with your dispatcher, and let him or her know of anything suspicious or odd.
• Don't talk about your load on the citizens' band radio -- cargo thieves listen, too.
• When possible, vary your delivery route.
• When possible, go directly to your delivery point without making any stops.
• When you need a rest stop, park in areas where other truckers are present. Hijackers don’t like crowds.
• Stop only at reputable truck stops along your route – and don’t stop at the same location every time.
• Don't stop on dark freeways or in deserted areas while waiting to make deliveries.
• Never take your load home, and don’t park it in an unsecured area.
• When possible, drive in tandem with another truck – it cuts down the risk of being hijacked.
• Be aware of vehicles following your truck and of strangers asking questions about what you are carrying.
• Be suspicious of individuals asking you to stop as a result of an alleged traffic accident. Hijackers frequently use this ruse to get drivers to stop. If you are unsure that an accident occurred, drive to a police station or well-lit, busy intersection before stopping.
• Be especially watchful immediately after picking up your load. The majority of hijackings occur within a few miles of the pickup point. Freeway on- and off-ramps are particularly dangerous.
• If you are hijacked or your load is stolen, immediately notify the local police by dialing 911. Then call your 24-hour dispatcher.
• If you are hijacked, always do as instructed by the hijackers, but listen to what is being said and the sounds around you. It may provide law enforcement valuable information about where the thieves have taken your vehicle and load.
• Try to provide a description of the hijackers and the vehicles they used. You are law enforcement’s best witness.
Leslie Stout, CalArk's Director of Safety, has lots of good news about how our drivers have been adapting to the HOS regulations. In the last 24 months, we've had 603 inspections and only 9 HOS violations.
That's only 1.5%, which is pretty incredible for something new and complicated. Leslie says, "there are many folks just trying to navigate new waters." That goes for inspectors as well as drivers. She expects other states to be more strict on guidelines as they get used to new regulations.
(If you're curious about the few violations we did see, Georgia accounted for four of our nine violations, and the main issue we had was with keeping log books and instruction cards in the truck. Make sure you have 'em with you!)
Another impressive statistic has to do with the threshold for a Hazardous Materials Carrier like CalArk on CSA for HOS violations. At 15%, we're well below the 65% that would cause us to be put in Alert Status.
Leslie calls this "terrific" and says she attributes this to "our standards company wide, our teamwork through and support between the departments, our auditing processes in the Safety Department, and our drivers’ commitment to Safety. We preach and teach doing things the right way (logging) because it is the right thing to do from Orientation throughout a driver’s tenure. We make our expectations clear on HOS from the very beginning. I think the drivers know and respect us for that, and they take pride in it."
At CalArk, we appreciate that, and it continues to make us proud of our hard-working, focused drivers. It's not easy to keep track of and meet all the rules and expectations from the FMCSA and DOT, but you continue to do a fantastic job. Thank you for everything you do!
While the holidays are a time of great giving, the next few weeks see a rise in theft, too. Here are some quick tips for safely securing your cargo:
1. Avoid unsecured parking locations.
2. Stick to well-lit areas with security cameras and guards.
3. Don't share load info (via social media or radio).
4. Use multiple security measures at once, like:
LOGS & HOS
CalArk Driven Bulletin