How Does A Truck Driver Protect Themselves

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Sam Herding's Comment
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I'm wondering how a truck driver protects themselves from possible highjakings, or other life threatening situation? Anything is possible right? So can't a truck driver have some sort of weapon to prevent this kind of stuff: I'm starting school for my CDL next month, and I was hoping in getting some kind of weapon for my own protection, but I will already have my own weapon as my dog will be my traveling companion, but I want a different weapon to protect both is us

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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Great Answer!

Dustin, be aware that very few companies are going to let you bring that dog with you. I've had German Shepherds for years - love em - nothing in the world like em. But companies have pet policies and very few companies will allow German Shepherds.

To make matters much worse, he's a puppy. He's going to chew everything to bits.

Finally, be aware that you're not going to be able to bring him during your training phase on the road. Depending on the company, that's going to be anywhere from two weeks to over two months. Someone will have to watch him for you.

I love those dogs more than anything in the world but it's the last dog on Earth I'd want with me in a truck. They're so big and heavy you're going to have a heck of a time getting him in and out of the truck. And of course the shedding.....omg.

We do have a great List of Trucking Companies That Allow Pets so check that out. It's going to require a sizeable deposit and often times a fee of some sort.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
C. S.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
If it were up to me, I'd make it MANDATORY that every truck driver carried a loaded sidearm at all times while under load AND passed a weapons training and self defense course like an armed security officer!

Well, I suppose I should thank God that it's not up to you. Miss Miyoshi is right, some people have no desire to carry a firearm and shouldn't be forced to unless it's absolutely critical to their job. I enjoy target shooting with my boyfriend but have no desire to carry a loaded firearm around at all times. For as many robberies as it could potentially prevent, I have no doubt such a requirement would instigate many other incidents. Brett has said before that trucking attracts a lot of type A personalities. Combine that with the fact that many people lack the level head required to safely carry and it's a recipe for disaster. Frankly, I would be much more fearful if I knew every truck driver was armed at all times.

Can you imagine how many truck stop robberies or highjackings there would be if it was common knowledge that every truck driver was open carrying a loaded weapon and trained in how to use it as part of their job? Practically NONE I would say.

In 2014 nearly 3,500 commercial bank robberies occurred. This happened despite many banks having armed security, as well as other robbery prevention measures like panic buttons, bulletproof glass, cameras, etc. In my opinion not only would a requirement for truckers to be armed NOT cut down the amount of crime, it would increase the likelihood of death or serious injury to the driver because it encourages confrontation.

C. S.'s Comment
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Nothing beats a wooden tire thumper in my opinion. Practical, legal in every state, no training required to use. Tasers, mace and of course firearms will vary in legality by state and each company's policy. A note about highjackings: the truck and the load are insured and can be replaced. Your life cannot. Of course, your Shepard is going to be a good deterrent for many would-be thieves. A few well timed barks and they might remember an urgent engagement elsewhere!

Sam Herding's Comment
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But he's a puppy still so he'll still need training on that part. I know the truck and load is insured, but still you would want to protect it at all costs

Decanuck's Comment
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Dustin.. there is nothing worth your life or your furry friend.... even if you are the owner of the truck and the load.... insurance is there for a reason....a determined thief or criminal will do what they need to do to survive and you need to do the same... from my days as a retail manager in a retailer that had a problem with violent thefts for a while you just let them do what they need to do as long as you're safe..... I'm sure if you check with your company they will have a policy in place and probably a crisis team ( larger carriers at least) to help get anyone who has been faced with an incident like that to get through the mental aspects of it.

C. S.'s Comment
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I know the truck and load is insured, but still you would want to protect it at all costs

I wouldn't. Of course, I'll do everything in my power to prevent a theft in the sense of locking everything up properly and following company policy related to theft prevention, especially in high risk areas or high value loads. But at all costs? No. I would not resist an armed robber at risk of serious injury or death to protect the truck. My life is worth more than that, and so is yours.

Luckily, the chances of ever being in such a situation are incredibly low. Make sure you lock your truck up though, even if you're somewhere "safe" like a terminal or shipper/receiver. I know quite a few drivers who've had valuables stolen out of their unlocked truck.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Dustin, Decanuck and CS have it right. Your best protection is your own mindfulness - that you understand whatever situation you are in. (Parking at a truck stop is a situation, just as heavy traffic is.)

Treat every load the same, whether it's 80 52" Samsungs or empty.

Stay in well lighted areas, with other people around. (I know you can think of well lighted places with other people around that you would not want to even drive through, but you get the idea.)

When doggie gets big, you know shepherds are very protective and territorial. Might even keep the DOT officer under control!

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Craig T.'s Comment
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Stay alert. Keep your eyes up. Don't look like an easy target - tired, not paying attention, head down looking at your feet/phone, distracted...

Your best weapon anywhere and everywhere is to Trust your instincts, use uncommon common sense, and don't let more than one stranger approach you if you're at a place like West Memphis.

As a deterrent when I know I'm in a bad place by myself, I openly carry a heavy flashlight that's designed to crack skulls if need be. But the best feature of the flashlight is its ridiculously bright beam that is quite blinding when pointed in your general direction. Again, just don't be the easiest target. If someone is looking to do some mugging, they'll go to the victim not shining a magnified LED into their face.

>>--HuntinDoug-->'s Comment
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I've thought about the same thing... When I was a kid, my dad drove for North American. He kept a very sharp fillet knife on the wall in his bunk. I just thought it was the knife he used to cut up his daily apple. When I asked him about it he told me it was his last defense after his tire thumper. He drove for 20 years and never had a problem.

A 6 battery maglight flashlight gripped near the bulb, and carried on the shoulder can be easily flipped forward. Cops are taught to use them that way at night stops. I have seen guys put a spiked biker bracelet near the end for a little extra "thump" if needed.

Scott O.'s Comment
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I've thought about the same thing... When I was a kid, my dad drove for North American. He kept a very sharp fillet knife on the wall in his bunk. I just thought it was the knife he used to cut up his daily apple. When I asked him about it he told me it was his last defense after his tire thumper. He drove for 20 years and never had a problem.

A 6 battery maglight flashlight gripped near the bulb, and carried on the shoulder can be easily flipped forward. Cops are taught to use them that way at night stops. I have seen guys put a spiked biker bracelet near the end for a little extra "thump" if needed.

If it looks like a duck quacks like a duck and walks like one then it must be one... Same with weapons DOT will and can charge you for carrying one... Best bet is to have a tool that you use and can be flipped into a object that can put some hurting on someone... Is tire thumper ...

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

SamTon's Comment
member avatar

We have wondered this as we are thinking of going in the trucking business. We were not sure how the company handles it yet. When West Memphis was mentioned, it is a reminder to be aware of surroundings. We were going on a mission trip to NM and our bus broke down there. We all could tell it was not a place we wanted to stay very long.

Is there an article in this site of places like that, to help us newbies on the road?

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