Jewish World Review May 15, 2002 / 4 Sivan, 5762

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Consumer Reports

Truckers becoming terror fighters -- (UPI) -- The trucking industry has launched a nationwide anti-terrorism training program that will turn as many as 3 million drivers into the eyes and ears of law enforcement on the nation's highways.

The American Trucking Association said Monday that its Anti-terrorism Action Plan will train drivers to recognize suspicious activities that could be linked to terrorism and then quickly spread the word of any potential threats among the countless trucks on the road.

"The trucking security plan escalates as alert levels rise by increasing driver vigilance of interstate highways, bridges, tunnels, and seaports, activating driver-dispatcher check-ins, and adding regular broadcasts of cargo theft and hijackings," the ATA said in a release. "Updated threat information from federal authorities would also be broadcast to drivers."

Trucks have been a source of concern to U.S. security officials since Sept. 11 because they carry potentially dangerous cargoes of chemicals, fertilizer and petroleum.

The ATA's plan includes the establishment of a toll-free telephone number that drivers can use to report suspicious activities. The information from the nation's new breed of foot soldiers will then be passed on to appropriate law enforcement agencies.

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