Agencies Release Training to Prevent Vehicle Attacks

Today in Security: Agencies Release Training To Prevent Vehicle Attacks

Vehicle rental employees can prevent terror attacks by helping identify suspicious customers who want to use vehicles for nefarious purposes, according to a new video produced by the U.S. federal government.

The video—a joint project from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the FBI, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Truck Renting and Leasing Association, and the American Car Rental Association—shows the “tripwires,” or basic indicators, that vehicle rental employees can look for in someone planning a terrorist attack.

“An informed and observant public is our best partner in hometown security,” says Brian Harrell, assistant director for infrastructure security at DHS's Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), who also appears in the video. “People who are directly interacting with consumers can spot red flags that could indicate a potential threat, if they are trained on what to look for."

​​“CISA has been collaborating with our federal partners and industry stakeholders for the last few years to raise awareness of vehicle ramming and other threats to soft targets and crowded places,” Harrell adds. “The FBI, the American Car Rental Association, and the Truck Renting & Leasing Association have been key partners, and the FBI’s video is an important new tool in the unified federal and industry efforts to increase awareness about threats to soft targets and engage people who can directly help reduce these threats.”

The video instructs employees who encounter customers that may be suspicious to, if able to do safely, document a description of the individual, why the encounter was suspicious or alarming, rental agreements and identification provided by the customer, information on others with the customer, and any information about how the customer left the rental facility. That information can then be passed on to the employee's supervisor or law enforcement.

The agencies released the video in response to the 19 vehicle-ramming attacks that occurred around the world between 2016 and 2017; 40 percent of those attacks involved a vehicle that was rented from a commercial rental company.

Many of these attacks occurred in Europe, but have also occurred in the United States--including in New York City when a man drove a rented truck down a bike path and killed eight people. Following the incident, the city installed 1,500 metal bollards and planters at popular locations to prevent future vehicle attacks. ​