One of the biggest challenges that even seasoned truck drivers come across is theft of cargo. When on the road, they are under constant threat from burglars and armed robbers. But most cargo thefts occur during pit stops and breaks, where a passerby might make use of the opportunity for some quick bucks. The truck drivers have to be extremely cautious and vigilant to safeguard their trucks as well as the cargo they are carrying.
Although there is no handbook that can precisely lay down the rules and guidelines to avoid cargo theft, there are some tricks and tips that truck drivers can utilize to keep their cargo safe.
- Type of Cargo:
According to research, certain types of cargo are targeted more by thieves, either because of their market value or because of their size. Electronic items like mobiles and laptops fetch a good amount in the black market and are also easy to carry. Other goods that are more frequently stolen are food, pharmaceutical drugs, clothing and accessories. Truck drivers need to be extra cautious during breaks and rests, and up their security when transporting such kind of cargo.
- Employer Protocols
Most trucking companies have their own security protocols that every truck driver is trained in and is required to follow diligently. The trucking companies also have a ‘red zone’ and ‘hot spots’ where they do not allow their drivers to take a break. The red zone is usually the first 200 miles or 4 hours of travel. This may vary according to the standards of the company. Hot spots are the areas that are prone to theft and hijacking. By adhering to these rules, and avoiding to stop in dangerous areas, truck drivers can keep their cargo safe.
- Planning ahead
Experienced truck drivers who have been on the job for long know the areas to avoid during their travel. Often various organizations also publish reports and surveys about places and roads, called as ‘hot spots’ that are more likely to be targeted by robbers and hijackers. According to a report by SensiGuard, California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and Georgia are the top five states in reported cargo thefts in the year 2018. Researching and studying these reports can assist truck drivers in planning for the tour and breaks before they start.
- Pit stops and breaks
Chances of cargo thefts increases when the truck is not moving. But when the travelling hours are long, truck drivers need to stop and take rest. This is the opportunity that the robbers wait for. It is advisable that drivers do not leave their trailer unattended for longer period of time. However, if the situation arises, parking the truck in a well-lighted area with its back up against a wall will make it difficult for thieves to get inside the trailer. If the driver is taking a rest inside the truck, keeping all the doors locked will ensure that no harm comes to them and the cargo.
- Make the best of Technology
Modern day trucks are equipped with GPS tracking, and in more recent times, with ELD devices that are useful in tracking the movement of the truck, in case it is hijacked. There are also access control devices like access cards, key fobs or key pads, specifically designed to cater to the trucking industry. These devices ensure that once the cargo is locked in the trailer, it cannot be accessed by anyone without the card, key, or the password. Having such technology protecting the cargo allows the truck driver to do his job peacefully, without worrying about thieves.
At Matrack, we have designed a FMCSA-approved XT-6300 Electronic Logging System, which is the perfect partner for truck drivers as well as fleet managers. XT-6300 is ELD compliant, Bluetooth compatible, and is absolutely easy to install. For more information, read here:
As mentioned earlier, there is no specific guide to combat cargo theft. However, by being attentive to the surroundings, reporting any suspicious activity, and not leaving the truck unguarded, drivers can greatly avoid the chances of a theft.