Truck Drivers and crime prevention: study made by FMCSA

FMCSA is short for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency that monitors and modulates the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) industry in the USA. Its goal is to keep America’s roadways safe by taking measures to minimize crashes, injuries, and fatalities with large trucks, buses, and other CMVs.

In November 2022, FMCSA undertook the initiative to control harassment and assaults against truckers. This includes a threat of harm, actual physical harm, or intentional damage to vehicles and their possessions. The research was conducted by performing a literature review that was followed by the exercise of gathering statistics through various online mediums. The data was divided into three categories to understand the nature and prevalence of crime against truckers; women truck drivers, minority male truck drivers, and non-minority male truck drivers (control group).

Key Findings of the Research

The data collected were analysed to determine whether the nature and recurrence of assaults attempted against women truck drivers and minority male truck drivers differ majorly from the control group. Following are the key pointers of the crime prevention for truckers study. 

  • 59% of women, 52% of minority males, and 51% of non-minority males have been called undesirable names.
  • 38% of women, 40% of minority males, and 44% of non-minority males have received threat warnings.
  • As compared to men (8% of minority males and 14% of non-minority males), women truckers are more exposed to sexual harassment while they are on duty. As many as 33% of women truckers have reported getting sexually harassed.
  • These incidents are more likely to happen at truck stops. Common places include pickup or delivery locations (15-17%) and fueling stations (9-11%). Truckers are more likely to get attacked in urban areas (42-56%) than in remote or rural areas (26-35%).
  • Women truck drivers have reported being more vulnerable to sexual harassment at night, between 12 AM and 6 AM.
  • The individuals committing the harassment are more likely to be other truck drivers whom the victims did not already know (e.g., 31% of women, 27% of minority males, and 34 % of non-minority male truckers who were victims mentioned that the perpetrator was another truck driver whom they did not know before). Relative to men, female truck drivers are more likely to experience harassment from another truck driver at their company (15%) or their trainers (11%).

Suggestions Shared by Survey Participants

The goal was not limited to finding out harassment statistics. FMCSA also aims to improve the situation by bringing change by incorporating the following suggestions of the survey participants.

Ensure Safety At Existing Trucking Facilities

They suggested making arrangements for proper lighting and adding security features to parking stations, fuel stations, truck stops, docking areas, etc. Also, the restrooms should not be too far from the parking area. The presence of the patrolling police should become mandatory at night.

Arrange Additional Parking Spots

Often drivers pick arguments for parking spots which turn into physical fights. The availability of more parking spots will resolve the issue to a great extent.

Firearm Should Be Permissible

A few respondents mentioned that they should be permitted to carry firearms for self-protection. Currently, this is not allowed as per the policy of many trucking companies. Moreover, State laws on carrying firearms vary significantly. 

Improvement in Communication Within the Trucking Company

Truck drivers, dispatchers, carriers, fleet managers, and customers must communicate to draw a road plan that’s safe for the truck drivers. Drivers should be allowed to reroute if they feel unsafe about a particular area on the road plan.

Spread Awareness

Limited literature and awareness programs are available that pertain to the safety of truckers in the USA. There’s a need to create and promote content regarding recognising, preventing, interjecting, and reporting harassment and assaults against drivers.