KEEPING DRIVERS SAFE DURING CIVIL UNREST
Safety is always the top priority for trucking companies and given the current environment of unrest in the U.S., driver safety is of even greater importance. Below are some guidelines and suggestions from multiple sources. IMTA is also currently working with the Iowa State Patrol as well as the Iowa DOT and our ATA affiliates to gather additional information and guidance to ensure driver safety is at the forefront as the unrest and protesting is likely to continue, especially in the larger metropolitan areas across the country.
Below is information to share with drivers, dispatchers, etc. to keep truck drivers informed should they encounter a protester situation taking over their route
AVOIDANCE IS KEY
Many protests and riots are either predictable or planned in advance. When you see masses of people blocking the roadways, STOP. Don’t go any farther. Do whatever necessary to change directions and get out of the area. If you are alert, you should be able to see these masses of people far enough in advance that you can act before being surrounded.
DOORS LOCKED & SEAT BELT OFF
It should go without saying that your doors should be locked when driving. If your doors don’t automatically lock, get in the habit of locking them manually as soon as you get inside.
Don’t forget to lock the passenger door too. You don’t want the crowd to be able to easily open your door and drag you out. You may not have enough time to do it, but cracking your windows and turning off your ventilation system would also be a good idea when driving in areas where crowds may gather. Windows that are down approximately 1/2″ are actually harder to break than windows that are tightly closed. You want to turn off the ventilation system so you don’t get overcome by any smoke or tear gas that is in the air where you are driving.
Your seat belt should be off to allow for a speedy escape should your vehicle be set on fire or overturned. In general, it’s safer to stay inside in a crowd. If the truck is disabled, and under fire attack, get out. It’s best to take your chances on foot than be trapped inside.
BEWARE OF OTHER FORMS OF ROADBLOCKS
We ask IMTA members to please keep truck drivers informed of highway closures to avoid encountering protesters that move themselves onto highways. However, the roadblocks designed to make you stop, may not take the form of people. The rioters will steal cars and then purposely abandon them in the middle of roadways. It causes you to stop and also prevents police/fire vehicles from getting to the scene. It’s a common occurrence around the world.
DASH CAMERAS ON
Make sure dash cameras are recording. Information recorded could assist law enforcement if anything goes astray, as well as for insurance purposes.
A simple phone call into a customer or area suspected of having these situations could assist the driver in knowing what to do, or help them re-route in a time appropriate manner.