By Charlie Morasch
The now-defunct Highway Watch trucking security program had worthy goals and was needed to detect and report security threats on U.S. highways, a federal investigative report concluded.
The report also states, however, that Highway Watch did not receive active participation from truck drivers who were trained into the program, and the program’s $63 million in expenditures was difficult for investigators to follow.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General issued a report on Highway Watch, a trucking security program started in 2004, which reportedly amassed 800,000 members.
Administered by the American Trucking Association as the first DHS trucking security program, Highway Watch had a call center that accepted hotline calls from truck drivers who saw potential safety and security violations on U.S. highways.
The report noted that the Highway Watch program was criticized by other groups in the trucking industry for focusing on ATA-affiliated organizations for membership.
“ATA met enrollment targets through multi-million dollar reimbursements to state trucking associations, and sole source subcontracts, and did so at the expense of developing cooperative relationships with other highway and motor carrier industry organizations,” the report noted.
The OIG stated the truck security program should continue, so long as the program is more accountable, has a more clear strategy and spends funds wisely “and in a transparent manner.”
“Inconsistent responsibility for programmatic and fiduciary oversight hampered DHS’ ability to identify and address weaknesses in the program,” the report states.
The ATA’s Highway Watch Web site explains it has suspended the program as it explores options for continuing the program “in some manner in the future.” LL