Commercial drivers are responsible for moving very important and valuable cargo. Whether a run is local, regional, or across the country, these commercial vehicles are often a target for theft. In fact, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, cargo theft in the U.S. is a $15 to $35 billion industry. As a fleet manager, you want to do everything you can to keep both the cargo and your drivers safe. To help you out, Commercial Truck Trader has put together five tips for preventing commercial vehicle theft.
1. Educate Drivers on Theft Prevention
Theft prevention starts with your drivers taking every precaution they can while they’re on the road. It can be helpful to remind drivers of how common vehicle theft is and the importance of protecting themselves, their personal belongings, and their cargo. Here are a few tips for drivers to help prevent commercial vehicle theft:
- Keep doors and windows locked
- Don’t leave keys in the vehicle
- Park in well-lit areas
While these tips may seem simple, they can be easy to forget when you’re on the road for long periods of time or handling multiple deliveries in one day. Training drivers with these tips can help establish safe practices.
2. Employ a Vehicle Alarm and Anti-Theft Devices
Equipping your commercial vehicle fleet with a vehicle alarm and anti-theft devices can be an excellent crime deterrent. Many new work trucks are manufactured with some of these capabilities, but you may need to purchase additional devices for older vehicles in your fleet.
These can be visible, allowing thieves to see them and think twice about stealing your truck or cargo, such as an alarm system warning label. You can also use a steering wheel lock, steering column collar, or wheel chocks to prevent thieves from operating the vehicle.
3. Secure Your Parking Lot
If you have a parking lot for your work trucks or vans, make sure it is secure. Install cameras, put up fences, and hire on-site personnel to patrol the lot during late-night hours to help deter break ins. This is also a great way to protect your vehicles from catalytic converter theft.
4. Utilize a Fleet Management System
Fleet management systems and applications have an array of benefits to make managing your commercial fleet more efficient, while also limiting theft. Some of these anti-theft features include:
- Driver authentication security codes
- Panic buttons for drivers
- Mobile alerts when theft occurs
- Kill switch and vehicle immobilization technology
You should also equip your commercial fleet with a GPS tracking system. This is common with many fleet management systems and can help locate your vehicle faster if it is stolen. To read more about fleet management apps and software, read our previous article.
5. Have the Right Insurance Coverage
Unfortunately, no matter how many precautions you take, commercial vehicle theft can still happen. If you just have basic liability insurance on your commercial fleet, it might not protect you the same way more comprehensive coverage would. Ask your fleet’s insurance provider what coverage add ons are available for theft.
Be sure to read through your insurance policy carefully so you understand what protections are offered to your fleet and how it’s covered.
Cargo theft is on the rise, and thieves are on the prowl for their next score. By following these tips, you can take steps to deter theft, protect your fleet, and keep your drivers safe on the road.