Forty percent of truck drivers victimized by crime on the road say that crimes were violent in nature, including reports of rape, assault and armed robberies, according to the results of a new poll.
Just last week, truck drivers were shot at on the highway in three states and a truck driver was found shot to death in his truck in Illinois.
Violence against truck drivers appears to be on the rise and many truck drivers are on edge. Just this year, CDLLife has reported numerous acts of violence against truck drivers.
We wanted to find out what percentage of the CDLLife audience was victimized by crime, so we polled our CDLLife App and CDLLife Newsletter audiences.
Of the 447 respondents, 21% said they were the victim of a crime while on the road. Of those victimized, 42% said the crime was violent in nature.
We asked readers to describe the crimes committed against them while on the road. Here are their shocking responses:
- “Given a fractured skull and smashed left shoulder by a guy with a baseball bat, trying to rob me.”
- “Someone shot thru my passenger door of my semi going down the highway.”
- “Robbed at truck stop.”
- “I have had objects thrown at my truck that caused damage while traveling down the interstate.”
- “My truck was shot up, I missed the buckshot.”
- “Bricks thrown at me in the truck breaking the windshield. Two people tried to get into the truck.”
- “Assault in vehicle.”
- “I was shot at.”
- “Had rocks or something large and hard thrown at me broke windshield and put large dent in tractor.”
- “Robbery at knifepoint in San Francisco.”
- “Had a gun pulled on me.”
- “Assaulted with no provocation.”
- “Woke up at the truck stop poked my head thru curtain and came face to a barrel of a pistol.”
- “Guy tried to rob me at the loves in Houston, TX. He hit me in the head from behind while I was working on my trailer lights.”
- “Was jumped by 2 individuals and beat with a pipe. Happened in Port Elizabeth, NJ.”
- “I was robbed at gun point.”
- “Armed robbery with a knife, and attacked by perp afterwards.”
- “Attempted arm robbery while sleeping in the sleeper.”
- “Armed robbery.”
- “Let’s just say ‘no’ doesn’t mean no to everyone.”
- “Junkie put gun on my forehead took my wallet.”
- “Guy tried to throw a tire chain through my passenger window while I was asleep, assuming trying to steal stuff.”
- “Three attempted robberies and two assaults.”
This month, the FMCSA recognized the dangers drivers face and reminded drivers to use the Emergency Exemption when necessary.
“After seeing incidents of threats against truckers, FMCSA wants drivers to know that they may use the emergency conditions exception in § 395.1(b) to complete a trip without violating the hours-of-service regulations if the trip was delayed due to a civil disturbance causing a driver to reasonably fear for their physical safety. Any driver who experiences crime or violence should immediately call the police,” the FMCSA posted to Facebook.
How can drivers protect themselves?
In a separate CDLLife App poll, we asked drivers about drivers about how they protect themselves while on the road.
Of the 534 respondents, 29% said that they carry a firearm in their truck. We asked the respondents if they carry an alternate form of protection (other than a firearm). 59% said they carry an alternate form of protection.
Other listed forms of protection include wasp spray, batons, hammers, etc.
How can the U.S. do a better job of protecting truckers?
More can be done to protect drivers, including more safe parking options. The parking shortage is a very real problem for drivers. Providing more, well lit parking for truck drivers will help protect drivers, as many are forced to park along the sides of the highway. Just this year, two truck drivers were killed while parked alongside the road.
Cities can crack down on protests on the roadway that shut down interstate commerce, putting drivers and protesters both in danger.
Legislators would work to pass two bills that would allow for national reciprocal laws.
According to our poll, 83% of respondents said they would carry a firearm in their trucks if national reciprocal laws were passed.
H.R. 38 and S. 69 were introduced in the House and Senate in January 2019 and remain pending as of today. Both bills contain similar language regarding the establishment of national concealed-carry reciprocity.
From the text of H.R. 38:
This bill allows a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.
A qualified individual must (1) be eligible to possess, transport, or receive a firearm under federal law; (2) carry a valid photo identification document; and (3) carry a valid concealed carry permit issued by any state or be eligible to carry a concealed firearm in his or her state of residence.
Additionally, the bill specifies that a qualified individual who lawfully carries or possesses a concealed handgun in another state (1) is not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone, and (2) may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public.
U.S. Representative Richard Hudson, who is the author of H.R. 38, continues to advocate for the bill, which he calls “one of the most important pro-Second Amendment measures in Congress.”
H.R. 38 currently has 160 co-sponsors. It has been referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. A previously introduced version of Hudson’s bill passed in the House in December 2017 before stalling.
S. 69 has 38 co-sponsors and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
“Concealed carry reciprocity is already well-established across our country with the average state recognizing permits from more than 30 other states,” said Rep. Hudson.“National concealed carry reciprocity is common sense, and I’ll continue to lead the efforts to make it a reality.”