The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a 5-year research project on harassment and assaults against truck drivers. The “Crime Prevention for Truckers Study” project focused on harassment and attacks on female and minority male drivers. The results of the research are worrying.
In its two-year research, the Battle Memorial Institute (BMI) concluded that female and minority male drivers are more exposed to attacks than nonminority men. These attacks occur when the truck stops to hand over cargo, refuel, and at the rest stops. BMI is a private, non-profit company in applied science and technology development, based in Columbus, Ohio.
FMCSA’s study helped to better understand the nature and form of violence. This research led to the conclusion of what measures should be taken to improve the protection of drivers. The proposed measures include transport companies, warehouses, the police, and other factors that can contribute to the safety of drivers.
The most common form of violence to which women truck drivers and minority drivers are exposed to are threats of being attacked and actual physical attacks. Minority drivers are exposed to violence resulting from prejudice and racism. This group of drivers is a sensitive group due to their poor knowledge of the English language.
According to the truck drivers who participated in this research, attacks are much more common in urban areas than on open roads.
When analyzing the time when attacks on female drivers most often occur, the dangerous interval is from midnight to 6 in the morning.
The safety measures that are currently applied to existing trucking facilities are insufficient. The lighting is poor with lots of dark areas suitable for attacks. The toilets are usually far away without lighting. It is necessary to ensure better lighting in all these places. Installation of additional security cameras is required. Police presence must be increased.
FMCSA does not agree with requests to allow drivers to carry firearms, as this is not the authority of this institution and is regulated by a separate law.
Statistics show that women drivers are 2 to 4 times more likely to be molested than nonminority men. If we analyze only the data related to women minority truck drivers, it is up to 8 times more. Nonminority women truck drivers are harassed in this way 2 to 6 times more than nonminority men.
The attacks are most often carried out by unknown drivers. The females are more exposed to attacks by drivers and trainers from the company they work for.
The fact that most victims do not report the attack is particularly worrying. This is because the victims do not believe they can change anything by reporting the attack. They worry that reporting harassment will damage their position in the company. Those who are victimized think that this is their problem and they are responsible for solving it.
Research has shown that choosing an efficient and safe route for drivers is necessary. Better communication between truck drivers, dispatchers, carriers, and customers is also essential to prevent trucks from stopping in unsafe places.
Protection measures must include quality personal safety and protection training for truck drivers. A self-defense program and information on personal safety and protection will greatly assist drivers in improving their safety.