For months since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, truckers have found themselves caught up in protests and sometimes violent demonstrations on the road.
So far this year, truckers have had to adapt to the extraordinary challenges of trucking through a pandemic as well as to protesters taking to the streets in locations across the country to demonstrate against police brutality.
A number of truckers trying to deliver goods during the pandemic have found themselves the targets of violence — and the issue has become so serious that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has even issued guidance for truckers who who encounter “incidents of threats.”
Now more than ever, personal safety has become top of mind for truckers. The American Trucking Associations, ATA Safety Management Council (SMC) and the ATA Transportation Security Council (TSC) recently presented guidelines for truckers who have to drive through potentially dangerous protest areas.
12 Tips for Truckers Operating In Areas of Protest or Civil Unrest
- Immediately report any emergency situation to local law enforcement by calling 911.
- Avoid areas of unrest. Exercise caution when in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.
- Plan for road closures. If your route brings you through an area that has seen protests, check the local news, with your dispatcher, or the safety department to make sure interstates and roads along the route are open and the area you are delivering to is safe.
- Contact the delivery location for current and timely situations and conditions. Traffic conditions are constantly changing.
- Remain in regular communication with your dispatcher to provide travel updates.
- Plan ahead, try to make deliveries in areas of unrest during the day, at night park in well- lit, safe areas.
- Assess every situation prior to exiting the cab of your truck. If danger or exposure to large gatherings in the form of protest exist, abort delivery operations.
- Conduct thorough pre-trip inspections before departing domiciled locations; eliminate maintenance breakdowns from the equation.
- Always keep doors locked and windows closed. Remove keys from unattended vehicles and ensure trailer locking and latching mechanisms are functioning properly.
- If you encounter a gathering, stop your vehicle and do not drive through. Avoid any interaction and do not provoke the group.
- If available, utilize your in-cab camera in an unsafe situation to document your surroundings.
- Maintain continuous contact with your dispatcher and safety department for specific operating procedures and follow company policy.