A locking device that fits over the air valve buttons on the dashboard, costing about $80, keeps the brakes from being released. Fountain recommends the Air Cuff Lock (www.transportsecurity.com), while Gaibis has installed War-Lok brake locks for his truck and trailer. Kingpin locks range from $30 to $90 and provide theft protection for dropped trailers.
The Caffees have installed a panic button (about $175 through Qualcomm) in their truck and on their key chains to contact officials if they detect trouble with a sensitive load. The panic button saves time and directly alerts federal marshals in an emergency.
“Once, when a driver was following us in Texas, I could not shake him and we drove pretty slow,” Linda says. “Turns out the driver was sleepy and using our truck as something to follow. That’s as close as we’ve come to using the button.”
They also spent about $100 to have the 2005 Freightliner’s door hinges and hinge pins welded so they can’t be removed.
Both the Caffees and Wade have security cameras on their trucks. About four years ago, Wade paid about $600 for a four-camera system, which he declined to name for security reasons, that gives him photos every 30 seconds. The Caffees paid about double that for a four-camera system with microphones that gives views on the right side of their straight truck with 22-foot box, on the back of the box and inside the box. “They have more than paid for themselves” by avoiding accidents, Linda says.
Tracking systems using GPS can be installed inside trailers. For example, GPSit (www.gpsit.com), costing $500 to $600, uses a battery-powered GPS device for tracking. Add another $20 to $50 for monthly service based on the number of “locates” that you want to pay for, says Netzer Ruperto, president.
LoJack, well-known for its passenger car security devices, also offers trucking-related security services. For owner-operators, the company has tracking devices for truck and trailer that are activated upon theft. Prices range from $300 to $2,500, plus monthly fees of $20 to $50 for airtime.
The company is developing an early warning system that might appeal to owner-operators, says Bob Furtado, president and CEO of LoJack Supply Chain Integrity. “If the driver has a key fob, and the truck starts moving when it’s not supposed to, it sends an early warning signal and the driver is contacted to see if it’s a theft or something else,” he says. n
Secure trailer parking lots
A year ago, John Glavin launched Secure Trailer Depot and opened its first facility in El Paso, Texas. “Quickly we had as many as 350 trailers a night in there,” says Glavin, formerly a private investigator.”
STD and other such operators offer gated, 24-hour trailer lots equipped with security lighting and surveillance cameras. At the entrance to Glavin’s facilities, trailers are photographed on all four sides. When the trailer departs, it is photographed again and the pictures are compared with the entry shots to verify it’s the same trailer. A bar code is affixed to each trailer to facilitate billing and monitoring by STD and the customer, which tracks trailer departures via the internet.
Most customers are charged a monthly fee per parking space of $115 to $275, depending upon the facility’s location. Infrequent customers can pay a daily fee.
Glavin says Schneider National, Knight Transportation and Dart Transit are among carriers signing up for STD locations. He adds that some smaller carriers are inquiring about using STD locations as mini-terminals.