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Commercial Truck Theft

By: Matt Schiefferly
Vice President Safety Services


Commercial truck theft is on the rise and drivers need to realize their vehicles are targeted by thieves. “In 1998,” explained commissioner Dwight Helmick, “1,734 trucks and 4,879 trailers were stolen. Because of their high value, these large trucks and trailers - along with the their cargo - represent a tremendous financial loss for their owners...and society.” These losses are for California alone. Nationwide the numbers are much more staggering.

To help reduce theft driver’s can follow a list of security measures that will help to minimize risk. Common sense and constant awareness will go a long way in reducing the number of stolen vehicles.

Security Measures for Drivers

  1. Maintain regular communication with your dispatcher.
  2. If equipped with a radio, let your dispatcher know of anything suspicious or odd.
  3. Whenever possible, vary your route.
  4. If rest stops are necessary, park in areas where other truckers are present. Thieves don’t like crowds.
  5. Do not stop on dark freeways or deserted areas while waiting to make deliveries.
  6. Make it a point to stop at only reputable truck stops along your route. And don’t stop at the same location every time.
  7. If possible, drive in tandem.
  8. Whenever possible, go directly to your delivery point without making any stops. Don’t take your load home or park in an unsecured area.
  9. Be aware of vehicles that are following your truck and of strangers asking questions about your load.
  10. Be suspicious of individuals making you stop as a result of an alleged traffic collision. Hijackers frequently use this ruse to get drivers to stop. If you are unsure whether a crash has occurred, drive to a well-lit busy location before stopping.
  11. Always lock your tractor doors and make sure all trailer and container doors are secured with a heavy padlock. Keep your tractor windows up until you are on the open road or freeway.
  12. Be especially watchful immediately after picking up your load. The majority of armed hijacking occur within a few miles of the point of pickup. Freeway on/off ramps are particularly dangerous.
  13. If you are hijacked or you find that your load has been stolen, immediately notify the local policy (dial 911) and then your dispatcher.
  14. If you are hijacked, always and immediately do as instructed by the thieves, but also listen to what is being said and the sounds around you. It may provide law enforcement with valuable information on where your vehicle was taken to.
  15. Try to provide a description of the suspect(s) and the vehicle(s) used by the suspects.
  16. Carry information on your person concerning the ID of the tractor and trailers including license numbers. Law enforcement can’t report your truck stolen without this information.
  17. Do not talk about your load on the radio. Cargo thieves can and do listen to your conversations.

As a reminder, drivers MVR requests, vehicle additions and deletions, claims reporting and certificate of insurance requests our available on line at www.paulhanson.com. Any other questions or comments can be directed to Matt Schiefferly 800-852-1968 or e-mail matts@paulhanson.com.