Trailer drivers face numerous hazards and much difficulties in their work. Besides having to possess an “E” full driving license, they have to work extra hard to earn their living.
Trailer drivers are essentially a hardy group of people. They not only have to drive long distances, especially during the night, but very few realise, that the work performed by trailer drivers is in fact a arduous and difficult one.
To be exact, trailer drivers face many perils and dangers. Yes, a trailer driver’s salary can sometimes amount to RM5000 – RM6000 a month. Do not be surprised. But believe me, it’s money derived from “blood and sweat” as the saying goes.
The Star newspaper of the 28th October 2009 edition reported that in Johor Bahru, armed men broke into a rice factory, driving away 50 tonnes of rice, worth more than RM200,000 in 5 lorries.
Suspects, armed with “parangs” (long knives) climbed the fence of a factory at Senai Industrial Park at about 11:15 pm on Sunday before tying 2 security guards on duty. They then drove away with 10 tonnes of “beras jati” in lorries belonging to the management.
The above is only an excerpt of one of many incidents which is happening throughout our whole country today. There are in fact many more such incidents which have gone unreported in the mass media or newspapers.
Transport companies, whose trailers and lorries ferry costly goods worth thousand or even millions of ringgit, have been reported to have had their vehicles and goods robbed by gangs of thieves as they travel along our “expressways” and highways all across the country.
When we read of Somalian pirates who attack international ship liners along the Somalian coast, this incident is in fact happening right here at our own doorsteps.
Many are not aware, but transport companies, unfortunately suffer tremendous losses. And unless the authorities take immediate and concrete steps to curtail this ever increasing menace immediately, the dilemma will become even worse in the near future.
Transport companies claimed that they have sustained great losses. The trailers and lorries owned by the above companies, which cost few hundred thousand ringgit each have been reported lost.
Some vehicles are so sophisticated, like Volvo and Scania that they cost nearly a million ringgit. These vehicles even have 24 gear systems and air conditioned cabins specially built for drivers.
Can you imagine, the financial loss a transport company stand to lose if one of its vehicles were to be hijacked? Not to mention too the value of its goods stolen.
Words have it that insurance companies will only agree to pay for goods and cargo which is lost in transit. Goods and cargo which is parked near a factory’s premise or building and hence is “waylaid” by gang of thieves or robbers, insurance companies have been known to have disclaim responsibility for the above cargo, goods as well as the vehicle itself.
As stated earlier, trailer drivers face tremendous danger, as they drive “trans Malaysia”. They are liable to become tired. At times, these trailer drivers become so tired, that they have little choice but to stop along the highway to rest. To continue driving would be dangerous and to court disaster!
They have in fact stop and take steps to rid themselves of tiredness. Yes, ideally it is recommended or suggested that trailer drivers should only stop to rest at “R & R” (Rest and Recreation) areas. But sometimes trailer drivers have little or no choice.
Their tiredness requires them to stop immediately, even in non R & R areas. Therein lies their predicament. This is where they are hit by gang of thieves, who perpetually hound these trailer drivers and rob them of not only their trailers but also their goods they are transporting as well.
These groups have been reported to be armed with parangs and even sophisticated weapons.
Whatever it is, trailer drivers are once again advised to only park and rest at R & R areas. Those areas are known to be much safer.
Some vehicles, which belong to large companies, have been reported to have installed gadgets such as CCTV to assist in their administration.
But such gadgets are expensive and can only be installed in a selected number of trailers, and therefore still needs to be reviewed very carefully.
Readers may wish to know where I got my facts and figures regarding the above. Actually, my wife’s works with one of the biggest transport companies referred owns more than 1000 lorries and trailers.
It is in fact listed in the first board of the Malaysian Stock Exchange. Due to legal constrains, I feel it is best that I refrain from divulging the name of the company.
In short, this hijacking of trailers and lorries including goods and cargos which cost million of ringgit has to stop. The authorities have to do something concrete about it fast.
Essentially, what can be done to minimize the problem of hijackings amongst transport companies?
Some suggestions are:
1) Trailer drivers should be directed to drive their trailer only during the day. Roads will be assumed to be safer during daylight hours.
2) It is my contention that insurance companies will not pay or be responsible for cargo that is parked near a factory or establishment if it is lost.
If the above is true, Legal Advisers to the transport companies should scrutinize the above rule carefully. If need be, and this terms should be challenged, then by all means a challenge would have to be made.
This article has delved rather expressively into what a transport company faces with regards to its trailers and cargoes.
To end this article, permit me to quote you a real incident which happened some time back. A trailer driver was waylaid on one of our highways. His goods (including trailer) costing thousands of ringgits was stolen.
He was reportedly beaten and tied to a tree for 3 days. This resulted in him being bitten by mosquitoes and ants. What an ordeal?
Would you wish to be a trailer driver, ever?