After the recent terror attacks, the Arizona Trucking Association (ATA) and other companies have teamed up to urge transportation workers to spot and report suspicious activity in the road.
Vehicles as weapons
Some terrorist organizations have encouraged people to use vehicles as weapons against innocent pedestrians and other drivers. CNN reported that from 2014 through 2017, terrorists carried out 17 known vehicle ramming attacks worldwide, resulting in 173 fatalities and 667 injuries.
Most recently, on October 31, 2017, near the World Trade Center in New York, 8 people were killed and 12 injured when a 29-year-old man in a rented pickup truck drove down a busy bicycle path. Since the suspect has been identified as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. A note and other evidence near the truck linked the terrorist with ISIS.
If you see something, say something
“The way we look at it is there are three million truck drivers on the road. Law enforcement can’t be every place at every time,” Arizona Trucking Association President and CEO Tony Bradley said. “So that’s why we want to encourage our employees, that if they see something, say something.”
The Arizona Trucking Association released an informative memo for drivers on how to spot potential terrorists. Some highlights are as follows:
- Vehicle ramming: is a form of attack in which a perpetrator deliberately aims a motor vehicle at a target with the intent to inflict fatal injuries or significant property damage by striking with concussive force
- Terrorist organizations overseas have advocated conducting vehicle ramming attacks—using modified or unmodified motor vehicles—against crowds, buildings, and other vehicles. Such attacks could target locations where large numbers of people congregate, including parades and other celebratory gatherings, sporting events, entertainment venues, or shopping centers
- Would-be terrorists can be stopped by some of the least-intrusive and lowest-cost means available: meaningful security awareness. Drivers and staff who both remain alert to potential threats and report suspicious activities to appropriate authorities are the most effective means of detecting acts of terrorism by a commercial vehicle.
The ATA also recommends drivers complete online video training created by TSA. This training goes into detail the correct ways to observe, assess, and report suspicious activity.
Trained first observers can report suspicious transportation-related activities to 9-1-1 and to TSA at (844) TSA-FRST, (844) 872-3778. If possible, include the following information in your report:
- Your name and telephone number (optional)
- Vehicle ID (make, model, color, plate, number)
- Person ID/description
- Activity observed
- Time of the day
“You’d be much better off to report something suspicious to law enforcement and have nothing happen than to not report it and have something happen,” Bradley said.
He further explained that suspicious activity can be something as simple as customers paying with large sums of cash and using gift cards that can’t be traced.
“Don’t put your head in the sand. What’s important, especially in these times we live in, is that everybody participates,” Bradley explained. “Be part of the solution.”
“The Arizona Counter Terrorism Intelligence Center routinely works with our law enforcement partners throughout the state in an ongoing effort to gather intelligence and keep those partners informed of potential threats involving known or unknown persons,” DPS spokesman Bart Graves told the Cronkite News.