Results from a survey released last week by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to its Women of Trucking Advisory Board found truckers -- both female and male -- are often subjected to harassing comments, unwanted touching, and even threats of violence.
Respondents in the survey also said they had some solutions to these problems.
- Enhance safety at existing trucking facilities:
- Provide additional parking facilities:
- Allow firearm carrying in the trucking industry:
- Improve communication within the trucking industry:
- Provide personal safety training to truck drivers:
- Develop educational material to increase awareness:
At the bottom of this article, you can tell us which of these suggestions is the most important way o improve truck driver safety.
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Enhance safety at existing trucking facilities
Providing adequate lighting and security features to existing truck parking lots, fueling stations, and truck stops should be the priority. This also applies to docking areas of shippers and receivers. Providing safe and well-lit sidewalks between parking lots and fueling islands to the store or cashier area would deter the aggressors. The location of restrooms should be closer to parking entrances as opposed to secluded areas. The presence of safety patrol and local law enforcement will also improve safety.
Provide additional parking facilities
The majority of survey participants mentioned that there is a shortage of truck parking lots in the industry. They suggested that many of the crimes that happen against truckers are the direct result of limited parking availability, especially in urban areas. In some cases, truck drivers resorted to parking their trucks on freeway ramps and abandoned lots, putting them at increased risk of crashes and crimes. More parking provides more options for truckers’ safety. Therefore, either existing facilities need to be expanded or new facilities need to be built.
Allow firearm carrying in the trucking industry
Many respondents mentioned that they would feel safer if they were allowed to carry some type of firearm. However, many trucking company policies do not allow truck drivers to carry firearms in their trucks. Also, many shippers and receivers prohibit firearms on their property. Even if company policy does not prohibit carrying firearms, state laws on carrying firearms vary significantly. Many truck drivers suggested a regulation that prohibits carriers from barring their drivers and employees from carrying legally owned firearms and barring shippers and receivers from prohibiting firearms on their properties. Some also suggested national concealed carry reciprocity for truck drivers. Note: regulations related to carrying firearms is beyond the purview of FMCSA’s regulatory authority.
Improve communication within the trucking industry
Truck drivers, trucking companies, dispatchers, and customers need to communicate to choose a travel plan that is as efficient and safe as possible. For example, delays and scheduling conflicts at shipper and receiver facilities force truck drivers to park in unsafe locations.
Provide personal safety training to truck drivers
Most of the training that truck drivers are offered pertains to safe driving and cargo security. However, training on how truck drivers can maintain personal security is lacking. A large portion of respondents indicated that they never received any type of training on personal safety and protection. Therefore, truck drivers could benefit from personal safety, security, and protection, as well as self-defense programs. Many respondents called for employers to encourage their truck drivers to participate in such training and schedule them on a regular basis, e.g., yearly or bi-yearly.
Develop educational material to increase awareness
FMCSA can use the findings of this study to develop programs that promote diversity and inclusion. Educational material that promotes the safety of truck drivers is needed. The material should address topics such as how to recognize, prevent, interject, and report crimes. The educational material can also be directed to trucking companies, encouraging them to have a clear and zero-tolerance policy against harassment. Also, procedures are needed to ensure each complaint is taken seriously and that an investigation takes place when necessary. This is particularly important because several survey respondents mentioned that they did not think that it would make a difference if they reported a harassment incident or if nothing would happen after they reported it.
Now, take our poll: