Alert issued to companies, drivers operating near Mexican border

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The Transportation Security Administration’s Highway Information Sharing and Analysis Center today, March 27, issued an alert for trucking companies and drivers engaged in cross-border operations within Mexico or whose deliveries take them close to the Mexican border.

In a detailed report, the ISAC outlines the many threats faced by trucking companies involved in deliveries or pickups across the Mexican border and provides guidance to help ensure the safety and security of truck drivers and their loads.

Violence among Mexican drug cartels along the U.S.-Mexican border has increased significantly in the past years. More than 200 Americans have been killed in the area since 2004, and robberies, homicides, petty thefts, kidnappings and carjackings all have increased, with notable spikes in Tijuana and northern Baja California. The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel alert for U.S. citizens traveling to, working in, or living in Mexico.

“Truck drivers may face an elevated risk of being a crime victim, as their loads represent a potentially easy payoff for criminals,” says ISAC Director Don L. Rondeau. “We’re strongly urging American trucking companies and owner-operators to exercise extreme caution when making deliveries or pickups along the Mexican border. We’ve provided some guidance for operating in Mexico, and we hope people will use our information to keep themselves safe.”

The Highway ISAC issued the following guidelines for trucking companies and drivers with scheduled deliveries and/or pickups in Mexico:

  • Report in with operations headquarters or dispatchers at every scheduled or nonscheduled stop. Provide the dispatcher with detailed location and next-destination information;
  • Establish a time period with the dispatcher and/or company personnel for periodic scheduled reports;
  • Establish a duress code for the prescribed route that allows the driver to effectively communicate potential problems in the presence of potential criminals;
  • Avoid driving on potentially unsafe roads, and stick to the toll (cuota) roads whenever possible; and
  • Check with cell-phone providers prior to departure to ensure that the driver’s cell phone is capable of roaming on GSM or 3G international networks.
  • Housed in the Transportation Security Administration’s Transportation Security Operations Center (TSOC), the Highway ISAC’s intelligence analysts work with TSA personnel to identify potential threats to the surface transportation industry, and to issue alerts that assist the industry in developing a proper response.

    The First Observer Program is operated by “Team HMS,” which is comprised of the HMS Co. (HMS), Total Security Services International Inc. (TSSI), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Teamsters), Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) and Patton Boggs LLC, and is supported by other transportation organizations and associations. The program is designed to provide truck drivers and other members of the surface transportation industry with top-notch security awareness training, empowering them to identify and report potential security threats to a national call center, where those calls are analyzed by anti-terrorism and trucking industry experts. Truck drivers witnessing potential criminal activities should contact the First Observer program at 888-217-5902.