Padlocking Trailer Doors

Topic 23902 | Page 1

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Mikey B.'s Comment
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Just wondering, do most companies require you to padlock each load or just high value loads? How many of you put a lock on every load you carry or recommend it? So far its been my experience that locking the trailer doors is spotty at best, kinda up to the individual driver if they want to lock it or not. Some loads cant be taken from the trailer ( like 3000# paper rolls etc). Has anyone ever dropped a load and forgotten to remove the lock and what do you do If you do this?

Chris M's Comment
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At Swift if you pick up a loaded dry van or Reefer trailer from a terminal , you are not allowed out of the facility without a lock on it.

Also, when you send you're loaded macro, there is a check box asking if you put a lock on the trailer. If you say yes, and something happens to your load and it wasn't actually locked, you're terminated.

It is company policy that ALL loaded trailers are to be locked.

There is really no reason to ever not lock a loaded trailer.

Even with the paper rolls, sure no one can just carry them out. But let's say you're at a truck stop asleep during the night, and someone breaks the seal, opens the doors to see what's inside, and realizes they can't take anything. Do you think they'll be polite enough to the close the doors back and latch the handles? Nah. So if your doors stay open and you get a little rain shower during the night, now you've got a rejected load because you've got a wet roll of paper.

Seriously, always lock your loaded trailers. There is just no reason to skip that step.


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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.


A refrigerated trailer.

Susan D. 's Comment
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Yes, I generally put a lock on my trailer and my company asks us to do that. Actually, I'll put a lock on each door.

What many drivers don't realize, is that when you sign that BOL, thereby accepting that load, your company is now the OWNER of that freight. Should something happen to it, your company is responsible financially for any theft or damage claims.

Just this last week, our company had to cover an entire load that was rejected by the consignee because the seal had been tampered with (removed). If a trailer is LOCKED, it's less likely someone would bother just removing a seal, because they still wouldn't be able to get inside the trailer.


The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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Primes policy is to lock even empty trailers.

customers will end contracts for not securing the load. they can reject the entire load if someone takes even one can of soda from a whole load.

why cause problems. as far as forgetting my lock...i have never left a lock behind cause i make it part of my routine. our terminal collects ones left on trailers at the yard. it amazes me how many people do it.

if you lose it you gotta buy another one and ours are like $180 or something for the set of large lock small lock and air cuffs.


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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

My job doesnt require us to lock the trailer while working due to 15 to 20 stops a day but if we leave the truck for lunch, or it's parked back at our yard we rent parking at, trailers must be locked regardless if theyre empty or not. They want it done that way because then someone wouldnt know if theres anything in there without breaking the lock. I was also told it's because a disgruntled employee that had been terminated in chicago took a dump in an unlocked trailer.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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CFI's policy is to have a company padlock on every trailer, loaded or empty. If a trailer is breeches and freight is damaged and you didn't have a company lock on you will be personally liable.

Brazen's Comment
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Im a newbie so forgive my newbieness, but what if they use bolt cutters to break the lock?

given how cheap technology is, what about a battery powered motion sensing IR camera under the trailer that could at least record someones attempt to mess with the doors? hell, any spare cell phone can get a free app to do this... if it shined a light when sensing movement, that would do some good too obviously... I could do it for about $30. sure they could steal the phone, even if it was in a case, but i doubt theyd go to the trouble, especially if theyve already been in front of it.

also, a camera could be put on the inside of the door at the top, facing down. i use a cell phone in my bedroom connected to the wifi, when im gone. if anyone goes in, not only does it alert me and start recording, i can see whats going on and speak through its speaker.

tech is too easy and cheap to have to worry about locks. all that said, id like to buy one thats too big for most bolt cutters if im going to be held liable

G-Town's Comment
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I have to lock loaded and empty Walmart trailers.

Keep in mind Brazen, there is technology on many trailers; sensors that are tripped when the door is opened at a time it shouldn’t be. There is telemetry equipment on most trailers (a small pod on the upper front powered by a solar cell) that will send an alert when something like this happens.

Cameras on the inside of a trailer are impractical and would be destroyed by a tall pallet instantly. That’s not an option.

Locks? They are a deterrent, thieves take the path of least resistance.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

The company locks would need a torch. Maybe a grinder with cut off wheel.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Old Dominion has us lock any trailer loaded or empty, it discourages thieves and people from playing in them. I've found 2 bonus locks people have left laying in the yard, if we lose one they are supposed to charge us $10 for a replacement.

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