TSA warns trucking companies about terrorism concerns

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- With a growing number of terror attacks around the world using trucks as weapons, the Transportation Safety Administration is warning trucking companies and drivers to be more vigilant.

The unclassified report, titled "Vehicle ramming attacks: Threat landscape, indicators, and countermeasures," indicates trucks used in terror attacks have killed 173 people and injured nearly 700 across the globe since 2014.

The latest ordeal occurred just last month in Stockholm, when a man stole a beer truck, drove it into a popular shopping area, and rammed into a department store.

The United States, though, hasn't been immune. A radicalized Somali refugee plowed into a crowd of students at Ohio State last fall, causing injuries. In that incident, the culprit used a car, not a truck.

"There's concern that down in the field, out in the operations, people are not paying attention. There's a complacency because there's not been trucks used as weapons here," explained David Heyman, a former Homeland Security official.

The new advisory encourages the nation's trucking industry to be more vigilant. With 500 semis and more than 500 drivers crisscrossing 48 states, it's an issue Wilson Logistics in Springfield takes seriously.

"We have to have our guard up all the time, and the only way to prevent something like that from happening at all is to have every driver educated on proper safety and security measures," said Mike Tettamble, the director of safety for Wilson Logistics.

Tettamble was not only awarded the Safety Director of the Year by the Missouri Trucking Association, but it's also the culture he promotes in the workplace through training and technology.

The company gives drivers regular security training, uses electronic devices to track the trucks are around the clock, and equips specialized locks in all the semis.

They're all important precautions, but perhaps the most critical weapons used to fight terrorism are the eyes and ears of our nation's highways and interstates. "We've told our drivers if something looks suspicious it probably is, don't just ignore," said Tettamble.

It's not just professional trucking companies that need to implement security measures; the TSA notes truck rental agencies should also heed the warning.