RALEIGH, N.C. — The U.S. military is fighting terrorism on the front lines in Afghanistan. Local police are trying to watch the neighborhoods. Now truckers are joining the battle against terror.
When the events of Sept. 11 grounded airplanes, America's truckers stepped in to keep things moving. Now the trucking industry has taken on another patriotic load. Companies will train drivers to look out for terrorism.
"The Army is only as good as get its goods and its people to the front, so that's what the American truck drivers do," said Rick Cates of the North Carolina Trucking Association. "We keep the food chain going, keep the supplies going and it looks like the front has come to the United States, so we will keep that chain going."
Law enforcement agencies will train trucking company safety officers. Those officers will then train individual drivers.
"Somebody that looks like they may be a terrorist driving a tanker or something, you know, they shouldn't be driving or whatever it may be," truck driver Dan Hiser said. "Something that looks suspicious, you kind of notice that. You know what looks right and what doesn't look right if you've been out there on the road very long."
Some truckers said you do not need special training to fight terrorism, just common sense, especially when you are hauling a tanker with dangerous chemicals.
"When you get out of our truck, you lock it with the key and put the key in your pocket. So many, guys they'll leave it running because they got the air conditioning or the heat, but see that's just an open invitation for a terrorist to take your vehicle," truck driver Calvin Hester said.
The American Trucking Association said it can enlist the help of 3 million drivers, and they like to say that is 6 million eyes looking for signs of terrorism.
Truckers will not be instructed to take matters into their own hands. The idea is for drivers to call police when they see potential trouble.