Expert: Trucking Safety Is Compromised

Aug. 26, 2005
"The safety of the nation's logistics industry and the security of the entire country has been seriously compromised by our failure to provide finger print screening for all Commercial Driver (CDL) applicants," says Terry M. Evans, CEO of Fleet Defender Consulting Services LLC, a private company providing anti-terrorism consulting to trucking companies.

"Without question, terrorists, convicted felons and other undesirables are traveling the country, legally driving 80,000-lb. big rigs throughout every community in America. We have quite literally made our highways a welcome mat for terrorism," he continues.

Given that trucks are the number one tool used by terrorists worldwide, the prospect that anyone can gain access to a tractor trailer is particularly chilling, says Evans. The government recently mandated finger printing only for the truckers wanting hazmat endorsement. However, this represents an extremely small fraction of the CDL driver population and having the endorsement is voluntary.

Evans asserts that safety and security officers with trucking companies across the country have reported thousands of drivers opting out of the hazmat endorsement when confronted with fingerprinting.

"You can bet there's a reason these guys are avoiding fingerprinting," says Evans.

Evans complains that the government's only response to the threat of terrorism using trucks has been to fund the multi-million dollar Highway Watch Program. The program presents a basic one-hour awareness training session to truck drivers and other interested parties.

"While this awareness training is a welcomed service, would it not make more sense to first screen people before providing them with anti-terrorism awareness training?" asks Evans. "Many of my fine and talented colleagues in the Highway Watch Program have expressed the same concerns."

Evans insists that finger printing all CDL drivers must be mandatory and must be done now without further delay. "Failure to take this basic security step is inexcusable and unacceptable," he adds.

Evans is urging people to contact their elected representatives and demand immediate action. "Americans often wonder how they can make a difference in the war on terrorism. Here is the opportunity to make a real difference," he says.

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