TSA Warns Trucking Industry About Threat Of Vehicle Ramming Terrorist Attacks in U.S.by Jana Ritter - Published: 5/08/2017
After the string of recent terrorist attacks using commercial vehicles in cities across Europe, the TSA has released a six-page document, "Vehicle Ramming Attacks: Threat Landscape, Indicators and Countermeasures," warning truck and bus companies to take measures in preventing such attacks from occurring in the US.
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“There are several indicators that may suggest terrorists are planning a commercial vehicle ramming attack, which can occur with little to no warning,” the TSA said in a statement released Thursday. “These low-tech methods of attack are becoming more commonplace around the globe. Terrorist groups probably will continue to encourage aspiring attackers to employ unsophisticated tactics such as vehicle-ramming, since these type of attacks minimize the potential for premature detection and could inflict mass casualties if successful. People in the US need to be vigilant.”
In the report, the TSA highlights 17 incidents that have killed more than 170 people around the world since 2014, with the most recent attack that killed 4 people in Stockholm, Sweden last month. The suspect stole a truck while the driver was distributing beer to a nearby establishment and proceeded to drive the truck into a crowded area of pedestrians before crashing into a department store. The report also documents that 10 such attacks have occurred in Europe, 4 in Jerusalem and two in North America. In November 2016 a man drove a car into a group of people at Ohio State University, injuring 11 people and in October 2014, a man drove his car into Canadian military personnel outside a Quebec strip mall, killed one man and injuring another.
The agency warns the trucking and bus industry to take the threat landscape seriously and provides guidelines in taking measures such as preventing the theft of commercial motor vehicles and watching for suspicious behaviors of individuals wanting to rent or buy such vehicles. The TSA is also warning truck drivers to be aware of their personal safety on the job and to secure their rigs at all times.
However, many companies in the industry are already steps ahead. Kendra Hems, president of the Trucking Association of New York, says their group has been concerned about the possibility of such attacks occurring since 9/11 and that the industry has rolled out a "very robust 'see something, say something' program," with training sessions throughout the year and new technology to help keep track of trucks.
"I'd say it's an ongoing concern. It's something we are very, very aware of. We as the trucking industry are doing everything we can to prevent an attack like this from happening in the U.S," said Hems.