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1/6 Lorry Drivers Attacked - Haulage Safety Tips For Owner Operators

Mar 20, 2008
With jobs for owner operators often hard to come by, lorry drivers and haulage workers may increasingly find themselves working the less popular anti-social hours involving overnight trouble. Not only do the darker conditions make crime more likely, but exhaustion is more likely to set in, and it's very easy to make the kind of slip up that will add you to the growing pile of haulage crime victims.

And these haulage safety lapses are reflected in the statistics. Across Europe and central Asia between 2000 and 2005, 1 in 6 lorry drivers were attacked. Of those, 30% had been the victim of repeat assaults.

The main targets of the attacks were predictably the vehicle and expensive loads they were carrying (60%), but in over a third of the cases, the driver's personal belongings were the target of the criminals (40%). Owner operators and haulage workers should never let their guard down in truck stops, where 42% of the attacks took place - and predictably a massive 66% of all attacks occurred either in the very early morning, or late at night when poor visibility combine to create the perfect conditions for crime to thrive.

While those who have been the victims of haulage crime will find these statistics reveal no surprises, those who have managed to avoid trouble on the roads with their loads should not panic. There are various haulage safety precautions that can be undertaken to protect both you and your load.

Haulage Safety Tips To Reduce Crime:

- It sounds obvious, but equipping your haulage vehicle with a quality alarm system is the best deterrent when leaving your vehicle for any length of time. The initial outlay will be dwarfed by the damages to your reputation if your find that your load is stolen at the truck stop!

- Installing tracking devices can help the police recover your missing loads if you are the victim of crime.

- For overnight stops, make sure you only use official truck parking locations - it simply isn't worth the risk in going unofficial.

- Try not to get into a habit on your journeys - varying your routes, favoured truck stops and times can make it difficult for a hit on your cargo to be scheduled!

- Parking up ahead of the "Just in Time" delivery window - although representing good time keeping - can make you a sitting duck for crime, as it means you have to wait around.

- Keep your haulage vehicle locked at all times, and make sure your keys are secure. Obviously "with the vehicle" never constitutes 'secure'.

- Every time you return to your haulage vehicle, give it a once over and look for any suspicious markings (e.g: cut curtain sides) which implicate your vehicle as a target for crime. If you have any doubts, let the police know.

- Resting and refueling your haulage vehicle should be undertaken at pre-authorised stops. If unavoidable, practice extra vigilance.

- Keep the contents of your truck to yourself - you really don't want thieves and dangerous types knowing of the riches and valuables in your lorry!

- Never pick up hitch hikers

- When taking a break, park somewhere where your lorry will be visible from the rest stop or café you're heading to

- Ensure your load documentation tally matches your consignment

- Double and triple check the delivery addresses before you set off

- Take an inventory of your load as it enters and leaves your vehicle. Greater vigilance is required when another party is helping out.

Finally, make sure that - if you're using a freight exchange - you can trust the people you're doing business with. Our freight exchange allows for people to rate their business partners, so you can ensure that your future colleagues are above board and have a good reputation, before taking on new jobs for owner operators.

These haulage safety tips, alongside the usual care and vigilance you would take at night anywhere, should ensure that both you and your load don't join the growing statistic of haulage crime victims next time you take on a freight or owner operator job.
About the Author
Luke Humble is the Website Manager for the Haulage Exchange Exchange Group. The exchange is for the heavy freight and logistics industry and offers jobs for owner operators and haulage companies all over the UK.
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