The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) warns the US trucking industry to be vigilant to protect themselves against the escalation of “ramming attacks”. Trucks are now terrorists’ number one weapon. They are readily available and in some cases, easy to obtain. Used in France and Germany in 2016 as ramming tools, trucks are also the perfect way to transport bombs as Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED).
To address this growing concern, trucking industries must:
- Learn how to identify the warning signals
- Train their employees how to prevent hijacking scenarios
Why Terrorists Look to Trucks
Since 9/11, air traffic has been heavily monitored for terrorist activity. So now, terrorists have come up with Plan B – trucks. The reason? Trucks are considered easy to obtain and a perfect means to attack infrastructure and groups of people all over the world via “ramming attacks”. In fact, there have been 17 worldwide “ramming attacks” resulting in 173 people dead and more than 700 injured to date.
Before 9/11 there were successful VBIED attacks on American soil. These include the 1993 World Trade Center attack and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. In both cases the trucks were rented from Ryder and the terrorists then turned the trucks into weapons. The important part to note about these VBIED situations is how a trucking company played an unwilling part in tragedy.
The best way to deal with truck attacks is to prevent them. Before tragedy can strike, the trucking industry must be proactive and learn pre-incident warning signs.
Recognizing the Warning Signs
Truck terrorism results from either an outside group renting or stealing a truck or is an inside job from a trucking employee. There are warning signals for each scenario.
When outside parties target a trucking company, beware of unknown people hanging around the property or look for out-of-the-ordinary activities. Below are red flags to watch out for:
- Unusual inquiries into business practices or surveillance of trucking, or unsolicitous monitoring of business practices
- Unusual number of security system “false alarms” – an outside party might be testing for weaknesses
- Impersonation: a potential client is not who they say they are
- Recent theft of explosives in the area
- Truck or van is modified with heavy-duty springs to handle heavier loads or reinforced to withstand high impact
Sometimes employees have been recruited by a terrorist group or are just “lone wolves” looking to get back at society for perceived wrongs. Whatever the reason, watch for the following inside job signals:
- Substance abuse or mental health issues
- Hostile or vindictive behavior
- Unexplained or sudden wealth
- Unreported foreign travel, contacts or relationships
- Unusual or excessive interest in security or classified material
- Misuse of computers
Whether the treat is from an outside party or an employee, know the warning signals that a truck in your fleet might be the key component in a planned terrorist attack. Without a vehicle, the attack cannot occur and in the best-case scenario the perpetrators can be brought to justice!
In the case of hijackings, there are specific ways employees can act to prevent this type of terrorist attack from occurring. Check back in a couple of weeks for Part 2 to learn how trucking companies can train their employees to prevent hijacking scenarios.
Train Your Company to Recognize, Protect and Respond to Truck Terrorism
SACS Consulting can help your organization address this growing terrorist threat. Call us at 330-255-1101 to speak with one of our training specialist to schedule the Recognizing, Prevention and Response to Trucking and Terrorism training today!