SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — At the National Truck Driving School in Sacramento, students learn the basics of driving semi-trucks, as instructors help guide student drivers through an obstacle course.
“We just do the basic training, good enough to have them past the test,” said Kashmir Thandi, who runs the school.
Thandi has been graduating students from his school for the past 10 years. But more security training may now be part of protocol after a report issued from the Transportation Security Administration.
The report warns truck and bus companies to be more vigilant about the increasing truck-ramming attacks by terrorists. The six-page document was released on Tuesday, in which the TSA highlighted 17 incidents that have killed more than 170 people around the world over the past few years.
The TSA warning is gaining attention locally giving the huge number of trucks that transport good through Northern California.
Like many others, Thandi got an email Thursday morning about the TSA wanting those in the trucking industry, among others, to be more vigilant. They want drivers to do more to secure their vehicles when locking up, report any unusual vehicle modifications they see out on the road and to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior.
“Look at all the truck ramming incidents we have seen. Lots of people got killed, lots were injured. It’s good to make people aware so these kinds of incidents, so they can be prevented,” said Thandi.
But not everyone sees the value in the TSA’s report coming out now.
“Honestly, I’d say they are little late to the game,” said Walter Ramey, with Ramey and Sons Trucking. They haul construction supplies cross country.
Ramey admits the threat it real, but he points to the lax background checks required for truck drivers, unlike other professions, such as pilots.
He also wants people to understand just how difficult it would be for a potential terrorist to steal a semi-truck given how hard they are to drive.
“Starting up in first gear, you could rev it up all the way to red line and still not be going more than 10 miles per hour,” explained Ramey.
But for drivers like Scott Mathews, who just posted a TSA review, it proves the TSA is at least committed to public safety.
“There are just so many trucks out on the road that there just has got to be some kind of control,” said Mathews.
The report was sent to police departments across the country as well as private companies that work with Homeland Security. The report may be new, but the TSA has been meeting with companies like truck rental companies, going back to late last year.