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Truckers recruited in war on terrorism

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POSTED: February 25, 2007 5:07 a.m.
The Georgia Motor Trucking Association has announced that more than 100,000 Georgia Commercial Drivers License holders have completed the Highway Watch safety and security program approved by the Department of Homeland Security.  
GMTA officials further noted that more than 98 percent of those trainees indicated a desire to become ongoing participants in the program to help keep the roads safe and help protect the nation from potential terrorist attack.
“The success of this program is a stellar example of public/private partnership,” said Edward Crowell, president of GMTA. “The leadership of the Governor and the General Assembly in instituting this training requirement has been matched by the great work of the Department of Driver Services in implementing it, and by the enthusiastic response of CDL drivers across the state.  The people of Georgia are being well served as we all work together to help keep our roads and our communities safe.” Overall, more than 20 percent of all Highway Watch volunteers come from the state of Georgia.”
Crowell’s comments were echoed by professional driver Isaiah Dyson, “It lets me do my part as a citizen. It’s well worth it.” Another driver from Augusta noted, “It makes you safer and more observant. I know it has kept me out of at least one accident.”
Highway Watch began in 1998 as a safety awareness program for CDL drivers, and since spring 2002 includes anti-terrorism training. The program trained transportation professionals contact emergency personnel through a special telephone hotline — providing emergency responders with precise location and incident information. A trained operator at the Highway Watch  Call Center verifies the highway transportation professional's identity (each participant has a unique Highway Watch ID number) and location and then routes the call to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
Also, if a call is security-related, a report of the incident is forwarded to the Highway Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) where it is shared with government intelligence officials and other law enforcement agencies.
The program has developed a proven track record. Since its inception the Highway Watch  program has produced actionable information for law-enforcement that has helped identify smuggling operations, other illegal activities and suspicious actions, in Georgia, nearby states and around the nation.   
More information about Highway Watch(r) is available at the website at www.gmta.org.
 

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