When it comes to running your route, safety goes beyond how you drive the commercial motor vehicle (CMV). You’ve got to consider your own safety, the safety of your equipment and the safety of your cargo.
The fact is this: Year in and year out, thousands of truck drivers are injured or assaulted. Additionally, millions of dollars are lost in both thefts and robberies. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent you from becoming a trucking crime statistic.
The very first step in ensuring the safety of your person, equipment and cargo is to ensure that there is proper communication between carrier and shipper. Everyone involved in the transaction needs to be ware of who is picking up a given load and when they will do so.
There are specific pieces of information that the carrier and shipper must ensure are communicated to each other. They include:
- The name of the truck driver who will be picking up the load;
- The vehicle number assigned by the motor carrier;
- The trailer number assigned by the motor carrier (if applicable)
Once the proper information has been communicated, it’s time to hit the road. Your next stop on the safety round up lies with the shipper itself.
At the Shipper
You may think that arriving at the shipper means automatic security. While this may be true in most cases, that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down or eschew proper safety measures.
First, when you arrive at the shipper, you must be prepared to show proper identification. It is likely the shipper will also require you to provide the name of the receiver and final destination before they release it to you.
Once everything has been cleared and it’s time to load the vehicle, there are several procedures you need to follow:
- If you are not loading the vehicle yourself, supervise the process;
- Do not accept unscheduled cargo;
- Be suspicious of requests to load unauthorized or unscheduled cargo. Contact your carrier for clarification before accepting such loads;
- The most valuable cargo should be loaded first, close to the cab and furthest from the trailer doors;
- Visually inspect the cargo to ensure there is no physical damage to it;
- Give a thorough review to all load-related documents;
- Ensure any discrepancies are reported and resolved before it is signed and the trailer sealed.
When you are sealing the trailer, you will want to ensure you are using a proper trailer seal. There are generally two types of trailer seals you can use. They include:
- Indicative seals: These are one-time-use plastic seals that are meant to be slipped through a hasp or around handles or locking bars. They are broken by simple tools or by hand and are not sufficient to prevent committed thieves.
- Barrier seals: Barrier seals are much hardier; usually made out of metal or metal cable, these often require heavy-duty bolt or cable cutters in order to be removed.
Always remember, no matter what type of seal you use, write down the seal number(s) on the seal – somewhere on the receiving documents.
Once you have made it through these procedures and can ensure the cargo should be on your truck and is in proper order and secured, it’s time to hit the road. Here is where your safety really counts.
One the Road
Did you know that the majority of cargo thefts happen within a few miles of the load’s origin? In many cases, thieves will stake out a particular loading dock and know when and where to strike.
You must always be on alert when you are leaving the shipper. When you are on the road or heading to the highway, make sure your doors are locked and windows are up.
Be extra vigilant when nearing prime hijacking areas such as signal-regulated highways, on ramps and off ramps. But what if you have to stop for a rest? Join us in Part II of our installment when we discuss what to do if you have to stop, how to communicate with your carrier, receiving procedures and personal security.