Truck Drivers Get Updated Alert for Possible Terrorist Activities

March 6, 2003
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) issued a nationwide alert to truck drivers, asking them to continue taking steps to ensure their safety and the security of their vehicles following reports that recently apprehended Al-Qaeda operative Khalid Mohammed explored the use of trucks as weapons of mass destruction.

The alert was issued through the ATA's Highway Watch program and sent out to all drivers currently enrolled in the program.

The alert says, in part: "Information obtained by U.S. intelligence sources… indicates that Al- Qaeda has actively considered large-scale terrorist operations involving the use of trucks as weapons of mass destruction to attack bridges and other points in the transportation infrastructure."

The alert warns that even though the national threat condition was recently reduced from high (condition orange) to elevated (condition yellow), it is important for truck drivers to be vigilant in maintaining the safety and security of their loads and to report any suspicious activity to the Highway Watch hotline.

Under ATA's Anti-Terrorism Action Plan, professional truck drivers are being trained to spot and report any suspicious activities that might have terrorism or national security implications. Their goal is to make certain that a truck is never used as a weapon. "Remember your training: Observe, Challenge and Report," says ATA.

The action plan is a coordinated effort of the Trucking Security Working Group, a task force of organizations representing hundreds of thousands of transportation, trucking and trucking-related workers in the United States and Canada.

Initially, truck drivers report security-related sightings to an industry-sponsored "800" number. The information is then screened and assigned immediately to appropriate federal and state authorities for prompt action. A full-fledged Highway Watch Operations Center is planned for the next phase of the security action plan.

The Highway Watch program is currently up and running in 21 states with 16 of those states providing anti-terrorism training to their drivers. Those providing security training include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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