Trucking Experts Warn Defunding Police Could Lead to Increased Dangers, Higher Costs
Minneapolis, MN – Trucking industry stakeholders are closely watching the “Defund the Police” movement which seems to be taking hold in numerous major metropolitan areas around the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
Initial peaceful protests of Floyd’s death quickly devolved into widespread rioting and looting.
However, authorities have been able to quell much of the violence in the last week as a movement calling for the defunding of police departments appears to be rising.
Local leaders in cities such as Minneapolis have proudly proclaimed their intentions to “dismantle the police” and replace it with a community-based public safety model.
Mayors of America’s two most populace cities have already jumped on board as well.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced their intentions to redirect hundreds of millions of dollars budgeted for local police departments into social and community programs.
Trucking industry stakeholders are watching these developments with a keen eye to see just how far these policies go.
Dan Doran and Darren Yancy are two such experts expressing their concerns to Transportation Nation Network (TNN).
Doran is a 40-year trucking company owner and served as chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) in 2018.
Yancy is a commercial insurance consultant with a career that spans more than 27 years.
Both men say it’s too early to know the impacts such policies will have on safety as they have yet to fully take shape, but warn they could present new dangers for truckers and challenges for carriers to manage.
“Nobody in their right mind has ever even contemplated a model where a modern day municipality defunds and dismantles its own form of law enforcement,” Yancy said. “We are plowing new ground and it’s not going to be a good crop.”
Doran indicated truckers and trucking companies will be quick to refuse service to these areas if trouble arises.
“Truckers were already getting nervous about all these protests before they even started talking about defunding the police,” Doran said. “Everybody has a watchful eye on all these locations and all it’s going to take is just one instance for people to say, ‘No we’re not going there,’ or ‘We’ll take the load, but we’ll deliver to a warehouse 30 miles outside the area.'”
Further, Doran suggested shippers and receivers in these areas will likely be forced to “beef up security.”
He even mentioned the possibility of shippers providing private security for truckers.
“A good customer may tell a good carrier that they’ll provide them some security to get them into the city limits… some kind of an escort,” Doran said.
If a driver expresses concern for his or her safety, Doran says a solid carrier will respond accordingly.
“I think any reputable carrier is going to listen to that concern and take steps to help the driver become more comfortable going in there,” he said.
That could mean only making day-time deliveries or finding alternate routes that make sense.
Another major factor for carriers to consider is the likely eventual increase in insurance costs, Yancy says.
“It won’t be positive,” he stated. “The presumption is you’re going to have higher losses from crime such as theft and fires.”
Yancy says impacts to insurance rates likely wouldn’t be felt for at least 12 to 18 months after defunding policies take effect.
Even still, he warned the eventual result “could mean you have a period of time they [insurance companies] suspend writing in an area,” and could also lead to “stiffer underwriting guidelines, tougher inspections, and higher deductibles.”
Given the possible dangers and likely cost increases, Yancy says trucking companies will wrestle with whether or not to service the area any longer.
“The real question is whether or not a motor carrier wants to take the chance of bringing their drivers into an area where they have declared ‘we don’t want to have police anymore.'”
Doran fears defunding of police departments will result in similar incidents as we just saw in Minnesota.
“I think that something’s going to happen like with the tanker truck driver in Minneapolis,” Doran said. “People were on the hood, beating the windshield in, and pulled him out of his truck and beat the crap out of him.”
Bogdan Vechirko, a 35-year-old owner operator, unintentionally drove into a crowd of protesters along Interstate 35 before being beaten and robbed.
Fortunately, a few protesters stepped in to protect Vechirko from serious injury or worse before police arrived on scene and transported him to the hospital.
While it is unclear exactly what form these defunding policies will take in the days ahead, one thing is clear: trucking stakeholders are holding their collective breath watching it all unfold.