Grain Valley, MO - Oct.
10, 2001 -- According to OOIDA, the lack of security at truck terminals, seaports
and nearly every place that trucks deliver are a concern for lawmakers and
all U.S. citizens, but the greatest security concern is from normal practices
of many (if not most) U.S. trucking companies today.
In their quest to find
warm bodies to fill truck seats, says the association, far too many trucking
companies have all but abandoned hiring and employment practices that would
sustain a stable, reliable and a safety and security-minded workforce.
"Some people would
have you believe that security could be enhanced by government mandates for
more thorough background checks of drivers, says OOIDA executive vice president
Todd Spencer, "when routine business practices in the industry show that
little checking is done today and little use is made of the information that
is available now."
OOIDA says that over
the past 20 years, truckdrivers have been constantly squeezed with declining
earnings and work weeks that are often twice as long as any other group of
workers in the nation. The result is an industry norm of 100 percent turnover
of drivers every year by some of the largest trucking companies in the United
The association says
that as a result, meaningful hiring standards are virtually non-existent for
employers. No training is required for anyone to obtain a commercial drivers
license (CDL) with a hazardous material endorsement that could be used to
legally have access to cargoes that could decimate entire communities.
"To be a truckdriver,
there is no experience required, no on-the-job training, no apprenticeship
program," says Spencer. "There is nothing that would stop a person
from easily and quickly fulfilling whatever anti-U.S. goals they may have
and legally using a commercial vehicle as the means to that end."
OOIDA points out that
the entry requirements to be a truckdriver are so meager and normal hiring
practices of motor carriers are so lax, an open invitation exists for coordinated
plans for mayhem in cities throughout the U.S. using trucks as the weapon.
"And to top it all
off," says Spencer, "for the past ten years, many trucking company/motor
carrier interests have been aggressively recruiting (both legally and illegally)
foreign nationals to drive trucks in the U.S. These practices have led to
visa scams, CDL scams and now they could easily represent the greatest terrorist
threat to our nation yet.
The association says
it's time for lawmakers to carefully examine normal business practices in
trucking that have decayed to the point of national concern and alarm.