Protests continue across the country in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. During this time of civil unrest, commercial drivers everywhere are being cautioned against the potential dangers. In 1992, Reginald Denny, a driver caught in the midst of the LA riots, was pulled from his vehicle by a group of protesters and beaten nearly to death. Denny had to undergo years of rehabilitative therapy as a result of the incident. Although some protesters may have peaceful intentions, you still need to put your guard up in areas where they are present.
The best rule of thumb is to avoid any and all areas where protests are occurring. Remember that even peaceful protests have the capacity to turn violent quickly. Keep up with news updates and plan your routes to avoid these areas completely. Also, be sure to stay in touch with your dispatcher who may send you important information. If a protest catches you by surprise, turn around at the first sign of a gathering if you can and plan to reroute once you are in a safe area.
Some groups of protesters have been spilling onto highways and intersections, blocking traffic. Never try to drive through a group because not only can they surround you, but you will also run the risk of hurting someone unknowingly. In May, Vechirko, the driver of a large tanker, drove through a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis. It’s estimated that a crowd of 5,000 people were on the interstate that day. He was dragged from his truck and beaten until a small group of protesters offered him protection until the police took him into custody.
- Always keep your equipment locked up tight and get in the habit of locking your doors.
- If you find yourself in the middle of a protest, crack your windows slightly and turn off your ventilation system if you can. Doing so will prevent teargas from getting filtered into your cab.
- Make sure you run your dashboard cam so that you have proof if anything were to happen. This footage could be useful if your equipment gets damaged, or if you need to defend yourself in a court of law.
- Don’t provoke the protesters, no matter how frustrated you may feel.
- If you are being threatened, call the authorities immediately.
Please remain alert and up-to-date with what’s going on around you. For more suggestions regarding what truckers should do in this situation, read this list of safety suggestions published by the American Trucking Association, the ATA Safety Management Council, and the AMA Transportation Security Council HERE.
From all of us at Truck Mart LLC-Stay Safe out there everyone and keep trucking along!
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Truck Mart LLC
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