NORTH BERGEN, N.J., Aug. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- When a man took the wheel of a truck in the southern French city of Nice last month and killed 84 people and injured more than 200, the world was horrified. The rented truck weighed about 20 tons and drove along a crowded boulevard for more than a mile mowing down revelers who were celebrating a French holiday along the Mediterranean Sea.
Cluver, who has over 40 years in the transportation industry dives into how trucking companies here in the U.S. can tighten security so that their fleet of trucks and their truck operators will not do the same harm.
"Some trucking companies are hiring drivers with little to no experience in order to meet hiring targets," said Cluver. "But, if there was ever an event that should cause the industry to shift focus from speed-hiring back towards safety and security, this is it."
Trucking companies are still feeling the effects of a nationwide shortage of truck drivers – NRS explored the driver shortage and some of the potential causes in a 2015 survey. The trucking industry has frantically been trying to solve the problem by offering better incentives and lowering the minimum requirements for becoming a driver. But are lowering hiring standards a responsible position to take?
"The trucking industry prides itself on its tight regulatory atmosphere and focus on safety—from the moment a candidate fills out an application all the way throughout their driving employment," said Cluver. "But, those background checks could be more extensive if they were taken as seriously as if they were obtaining a Transportation Worker Identification (TWIC) card."
TWIC cards are part of a government program that was put in place to shield against certain types of threats for workers who need access to designated sensitive work sites. These members include longshoreman, truck drivers, Merchant Marines, and anyone who needs regular access to these government sites without a security escort.
To obtain a TWIC card, candidates must go through a rigorous application procedure. First, applicants must get fingerprinted and in some cases have a retinal exam. Once this information is collected the applicant goes through extensive background checks. The process is governed by The Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) division, and the card itself has a special microchip that needs to be scanned into a reader.
"Now requiring a more extensive background check would mean that it would take longer to hire a driver and make the applicant pool even more shallow, but this setback much like the other safety precautions post 9/11 are safeguarding our country," said Cluver. "NRS is already taken steps in remote terminals to require all of its driver to obtain their TWIC endorsement. This is an operation objective as well as a safety precaution."
"I wish the entire trucking industry would team up with Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to cross reference driver backgrounds and keep better tabs on currently employed drivers with annual checks," said Cluver.
National Retail Systems, Inc. (NRS) includes Keystone Freight Corp. & National Retail Transportation, Inc. (NRT). NRS is an asset based 3PL that has been providing logistics services for the World's leading retail companies for 60+ years. Our hub locations include: New York & New Jersey; Los Angeles, CA; Inland Empire, CA; Savannah, GA; Columbus, OH; Greensboro, NC; and Baltimore, MD.
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SOURCE National Retail Systems, Inc.