Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, the way we look at potential safety and defense issues has irreversibly changed. Now, for better or for worse, we see potential terrorist attacks in just about every situation imaginable, thoughts that would never even have occurred to us before 9/11.
While most people would agree the starkest changes have been in airport security since those terrorist attacks, there have been plenty of changes in a variety of other industries and transportation methods as well, including commercial trucking. Despite trucking not even playing a role in the events of that day, there is now more scrutiny than ever on safety in the industry, especially when it comes to the transportation of hazardous materials.
The FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have certainly placed a greater emphasis on trucking in the last 15 years. In 2010, for example, the FBA released a series of reports called “Possible Indicators of Use of Large Commercial Vehicles as Weapons,” with a follow-up report called “Terrorist Use of Vehicle Ramming Tactics.”
Real-life events prompt increased safety scrutiny
With the attacks that recently occurred at a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France, it is a sad reminder that these are real potential situations that must be accounted for by our anti-terrorism agencies in the United States.
The attacker that day, who worked as a delivery driver, rented the truck and drove it straight through a crowded boardwalk. Such an attack is going to be extremely dangerous and deadly regardless of the size of the vehicle. But there are a number of safety factors that law enforcement agencies worry about that are unique to trucks. For example, trucks could easily be packed with a large amount of explosives in their trailers. They could also easily be outfitted with hazardous materials and substances that could act as a bioweapon in a crowded area.
Most average people probably wonder to themselves, “How do you even stop these types of terrorist attacks?” It’s a fair and tough question—all that can really be done is increase vigilance, because today’s terrorists are exploiting parts of everyday life we used to see as mundane, things that once upon a time would never have had to have their safety questioned.
Whoever takes the White House as President in 2017 will likely have to consider this issue carefully, especially in the wake of the Nice attacks. Specific issues will be the facts that not every large truck requires commercial license for operations, and not all holders of commercial driver’s licenses are required to pass TSA background checks. Experts also believe we are getting very close to extremely rigorous background screening for CDL applicants, similar to the type of screening performed for HazMat situations. These background checks could become expensive for applicants or for trucking companies.
Ultimately, it is too soon to say for sure what the future holds in terms of security in the trucking industry. But when working with our logistics company in Aurora, CO, you can trust you are in good hands with Osage Specialized Transport.