As the FBI warns of potential armed protests at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, D.C., leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, an online training provider has launched a new program to help local and long-haul truck drivers navigate possible demonstrations and protests.
Truck drivers across the country ended up in the crosshairs of nationwide protests last year in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by police in Minneapolis.
Some drivers were arrested as they tried to find alternate routes or navigate interstates that suddenly became blocked by large crowds of moving protesters.
Some trucking companies turned to Instructional Technologies Inc. (ITI), headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, to develop a defensive driving course to roll out to its drivers.
“Fleets have a responsibility to make sure that their drivers know what to do in a situation that is extremely high stress and potentially dangerous without any sort of guidance or priorities,” Schoenborn told FreightWaves.
ITI worked with experts, fleets and clients with law enforcement training to develop its online course for truck drivers, Schoenborn said.
“We don’t want drivers improvising in a high-stress situation,” he said. “We want them to have a couple of options laid out in front of them before they even get into the situation.”
Drivers and managers should listen to local news reports and monitor social media to look for alternate routes if a protest arises, according to Schoenborn.
If protesters block roads, the ITI course advises drivers to:
● Avoid provoking or engaging with protesters
● Set the parking brakes
● Lock all doors and windows
● Remain in the vehicle if safe to do so, but never if you feel at risk
● Call law enforcement
● Use a mobile phone or dash cam to record the event
“It’s important for drivers to understand that everybody’s safety is the most important thing,” Schoenborn said. “We want to help drivers make smart, rational, sane decisions in a world that is sometimes irrational.”