The Transportation Security Administration has issued a new report asking truck owners and truck rental agencies in the U.S. to be “vigilant” to watch out for terrorists who want to use commercial trucks to ram into crowds of people, news sources reported today.
NBC News obtained a copy of the TSA report, and said the agency had released it in light of the “increasing frequency” of such attacks.
In the past three years, the report said, “at least 173 people have been killed and more than 700 wounded in 17 ramming attacks around the world.”
“Trucking’s central role in the economy and supply chain makes it attractive for the sorts of attacks we have seen in recent months,” noted Sean McNally, vice president for public affairs and press secretary of the American Trucking Associations. “There is no more dedicated, professional and patriotic group of people than truck drivers, so our industry is disturbed by the possibility that someone would use our vehicles as weapons.
“Much of what is in this TSA guidance — avoiding areas of congestion due to special events, exercising awareness of suspicious activity and practicing common sense safety and security habits — are already hallmarks of industry best practices. The commercial trucking industry deploys significant security measures like vehicle tracking, alarms and specialized locks, as well as ongoing driver awareness training and driver vetting.
“Additionally, ATA communicates and coordinates regularly with TSA and other agencies to strengthen the security of our transportation networks and supply chain to prevent attacks of this nature.”
“Truckers are the first line of defense against such threats and should educate themselves on recognizing suspicious activity,” said Norita Taylor, spokesperson for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. She added that there is a program that provides information and a hotline to call to report concerns: https://www.tsa.gov/for-industry/firstobserver
The Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) issued a news release quoting association President and CEO Jake Jacoby, who said the truck renting and leasing industry “stands ready to support law enforcement and Homeland Security officials' efforts to protect Americans by preventing attacks using commercial vehicles.”
He said TRALA has produced a security and awareness brochure with the help of the federal government “to assist rental truck company employees in their efforts to be as vigilant as possible.”
The brochure — as well as other documents produced over the past few years — illustrate the threats and what to look for when evaluating a potential customer.
Jacoby continued that "TRALA members realize they are often the first line of defense against a possible terror attack that could involve a commercial truck. We will continue to coordinate with public and private organizations in order to try and keep us all safe."