While the average citizen may associate stowaways with pirate ships more easily than tractor-trailers, experienced drivers know they can and do find ways to hide in or on trucks. Doing so not only endangers the life of the stowaway in the case of a fall or accident, but it can set the driver up for a long interrogation or even jail time if found guilty of knowingly allowing it.
Luckily, preventing stowaways involves staying alert for their presence, not an exhausting amount of effort. Kevin Hurtt, President of Central Maintenance Corporation, shared valuable tips to follow.
1. Always pay attention. Drivers with loads out of our Laredo location may be more likely to run into issues, but you can make an unwelcome discovery on any trip. This driver unknowingly drove 50 miles down I-65 in Indiana with a runaway Ohio teen crouched behind the cab.
2. Look during pre-trip walk-around inspections. Hurtt advises paying particular attention after stopping at fuel stops, restaurants, and rest areas where a stowaway is most likely to gain access. Don’t forget to check trailer door seals.
3. Look in the right places. The bunk area of the cab and a trailer’s under-tray can be great places to hide, but the roof fairing above the cab is an especially common choice. Hurtt adds that our CMC shops in Little Rock and Laredo can install a wire barrier to deter unwelcome guests.
4. Look for the little things. Because a person can be well hidden, it’s often something as small as a shoe, hat, or fingers that gives their location away.
5. Don’t approach. Stowaways usually hide on trucks because they’re in a desperate situation, and CalArk wants our drivers and owner-operators to put your safety first. Call border patrol (1-800-BE ALERT) or police (911), then notify dispatch.
6. Learn more. Still have questions or want to learn more about CalArk’s certification with CTPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism)? Call Connie Stroud or Leslie Stout (phone numbers listed below) or check out the description of CTPAT at the website for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection here.
Connie Stroud, Director of Safety, Central Hauling: (501) 407-3329
Leslie Stout, Director of Safety, CalArk: (501) 407-3388
CalArk Driven Bulletin