Normal business practices in trucking are an open invitation to terrorists

| 10/11/2001

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 States.

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.