june 2011
In This Issue:

Protect Your Fleet from Cargo Theft

How to Prevent Work Zone Crashes

Report Shows Circumstances Leading to Large Truck Crashes

What to Look for in New Safety Technologies

Resource Library>>


Protect Your Fleet from Cargo Theft

Cargo theft has long been a major concern for the trucking industry and the threat continues to rise. Research conducted by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) identified 747 cargo thefts, with an estimated value of $171 million, committed across the U.S. in 2010. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), however, believes these numbers to be quite low since businesses are often reluctant to report thefts out of concern for their reputation and insurance costs. Including unreported incidents, the FBI estimates that cargo theft actually costs the U.S. $15 billion to $30 billion a year.

Electronics, food, clothing and pharmaceuticals are among the most targeted commodities. Cargo thefts cause consumer retail prices to increase up to 20 percent and create the potential for a harmful public health impact when increased pharmaceutical thefts are taken into consideration. According to Brian Smidt, NICB’s Vice President of Data Analytics, the reason “we’re seeing an increase in the thefts of medicines and pharmaceuticals from previous years [is] because it’s far more valuable.” This is especially concerning because if the medicine is not properly stored, it can cause serious physical harm.

To protect your company’s fleet from theft, a strong security and loss prevention program is necessary. Below are critical aspects of effective programs.

Thoroughly screen all prospective employees.
Conduct extensive pre-employment investigations on drivers and all other employees. Check driving records, criminal background records and prior employment. Take note of gaps in employment, frequent job changes, various names used by the applicant, citizenship, present and prior residences, personal references, criminal history and type of military discharge, if applicable. During the interview process, obtain information that will appraise the applicant’s personality, character, motivation, honesty, integrity and reliability.

Incorporate a loss reporting system.
All drivers are responsible for immediately reporting any loss of cargo or equipment. Cargo thieves move goods quickly, so early reporting may be the only chance of recovering the stolen vehicle and cargo.

A company official or lost-cargo hotline should be available 24 hours a day so that immediate action can be taken, and local law enforcement authorities and the FBI can be contacted. Drivers should have a standard loss report form to help obtain all pertinent information regarding the theft including date, time, location, license plate number of the tractor and trailer, VIN numbers, trailer ID numbers, make and model of the tractor, a description of the commodity being hauled, a driver report, police notification and information about any suspects.  Drivers should keep all vehicle information on their person at all times so it can be easily and immediately provided to authorities.

A security message should be provided to all employees via bulletin board posts or an electronic newsletter when a theft occurs.

Secure all equipment and property.
Install immobilization or disabling devices such as wheel locks, fuel shut-offs, air cuff locks, ignition locks, stolen vehicle recovery systems, battery-disconnect switches, covert cargo tracking, kingpin locks, seals and heavy duty padlocks on all of your fleet’s trucks. Place high-security locks on trailer doors and air-brake lines. Consider technical innovations that could keep your fleet safe, such as tamper-proof locking features for fifth wheels to prevent trailers from being stolen or electronic engine controls that require a code and key to start the vehicle.

Lock and park trucks in an organized manner in a well-lit area and keep high-risk or hazardous cargo in a separate area that is inaccessible to unauthorized individuals. Fully fence in your company’s premises, install area lights, camera and alarm systems, and hire security guards. Be sure your alarm systems function properly and are monitored by a central security station with updated contact information.

Train drivers to be prepared and alert on the road.
Drivers should have their routes carefully planned to avoid those that would take them through high-crime areas or those where cargo thefts have recently been reported. The company’s dispatchers should know the planned route so they can use geo-fencing to determine if a driver strays or stops at an unauthorized location.

Implement a “no stop” policy that prohibits drivers from stopping for any reason within the first four hours of driving or 200 miles. Advise drivers not to stop at the same location every trip and when they do stop, to always keep the vehicle locked and parked where they can monitor it.

Drivers must be familiar with their cargo so they know when they are carrying a high-value load and observe as contents are being loaded. However, they must only discuss their cargo or delivery operations with authorized employees and never over CB or two-way radios.

It is critical for drivers to stay alert and watch for suspicious vehicles at the pickup point, and those following them or acting suspiciously. If they begin to feel threatened or uncomfortable, they should call local law enforcement for help.

Baldwin & Lyons is offering free copies of a Cargo CATs Security Tips for Drivers handout card, while supplies last, to help drivers protect themselves from cargo theft. To order this handout card, contact the Loss Prevention Resource Library at 317-636-9800 or email your request to thequill@baldwinandlyons.com.

Please refer to the Resource Library for video training programs that can increase your cargo security.

{ back }

Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
1099 North Meridian Street, Suite 700 | Indianapolis, IN 46204
(800) 644-5501 | Fax: (317) 632-9444