Remembering 9/11, Trying to Prevent a Recurrence
It has been five years since that memorable day when terrorists intent on killing innocent citizens slammed airliners into the World Trade Center , the Pentagon and the ground.
In some ways, it's hard to believe that 9/11 was five years ago.
For many of us, the images remain undiminished by time: people jumping to their deaths from the towers; the giant hole in the Pentagon s outer rings; the eerie sight of people emerging from New York City subway stations dazed and covered in gray ash; walking down the center of Fifth Avenue in the middle of the day with no traffic moving on the broad road.
As our story on Page One shows, the long-term effect on trucking of the terrorist attacks is still growing.
Federal security efforts started with a focus on the air transportation system, leading to the complications in passenger screening that are now a given when we pass through airports.
When they looked to increase security in trucking, government regulators first turned their attention to hazardous loads. It has proven to be an enormous task, given the amount of hazardous material - including Fuel - that moves by truck in this country.
Nowadays, drivers who move hazmats submit to fingerprinting and background checks. An ID card is next. The Department of Homeland Security has said that it will officially launch its Transportation Worker Identification Credential program later this year.
This card was envisioned as the only ID transportation workers would need, although DHS now says that TWIC won't replace the requirements for drivers to obtain hazmat endorsements for their commercial driver licenses.
Another tool, American Trucking Associations' Highway Watch, which enlists the nation's professional drivers in spotting potential terrorist or criminal activity, was greatly expanded with federal funding.
Many fleets have deployed software to increase the security of their loads by automatically notifying dispatchers when trucks deviate from planned routes or when vehicles are moved.
Security costs for fleets have risen, both in terms of additional technology and operational changes.
Our review of the progress made in the past five years clearly shows that trucking can expect a lot more changes in the years to come as efforts to improve security continue.
"We're still in the middle of it," said one official. "There's still a long way to go," said another. Based on what we're seeing around the world as the fight against terror continues, who can argue with that assessment?