TSA pilot program assesses highway, motor carrier security

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A recently concluded pilot program in the state of Missouri will help the Transportation Security Administration continue to assess and improve the security status of the nation’s highway and motor carrier systems, the agency announced Wednesday, Sept. 12.

TSA conducted a 12-month Corporate Security Review (CSR) to gather information on security practices, identify threats and vulnerabilities, and promote awareness among motor carriers. In the voluntary review of security practices, TSA trained 40 Missouri Department of Transportation investigators to conduct CSR interviews, in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Department of Transportation, MoDOT and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

“This study marks an important step in helping TSA inventory the security status of the nation’s highway and motor carrier systems,” says William Arrington, general manager of TSA’s Highway & Motor Carrier Programs Office. “The results will help us prepare a future baseline standard based on a better understanding of threats and vulnerabilities, risks, consequences and security action items. Security is everyone’s responsibility, and through partnerships such as the Missouri pilot, collectively we can increase security awareness and reduce the risk of a possible terror attack in the motor carrier industry.”

Representatives from more than 2,000 carriers were interviewed during the pilot program. Many told TSA that the program heightened their awareness and helped them plan for security improvements, as well as provided them guidance and promoted public and private collaboration on security matters.

“We found that the benefits of the review program go beyond the obvious,” says Chuck Gohring, MoDOT transportation program manager. “Motor carriers learn how to protect their businesses and the public. They also build trust with authorities so they feel more comfortable reporting irregular situations they observe.”

After reviewing the CSR results, TSA says it is enhancing training materials and developing security-related brochures and security measures, as well as standards in line with smaller carriers’ budget and time constraints. TSA is working with CVSA and FMCSA to bring additional states onboard to collect security practice data from hazmat carriers.