Up to 85% of attacks occur in or around a vehicle. What should you look out for in Travel Security? Having a trained security guard for a driver is paramount to a successful protection program.
The benefits of a trained driver are far greater than their ability to use the performance capabilities of a vehicle. Land transportation can be more dangerous than most people think, and security drivers offer much more than just driving.
The unrecognized risks of land transport
Let’s start with understanding the risks. The fact that most attacks on executives, politicians, VIPs and other people happen in or around a vehicle is worrying. But direct attacks are not the only reason why security drivers are such a critical component of a well-organized protection program.
Take the case of kidnapping. According to statistical surveys, almost 60% of kidnappings occur during transportation. However, the actual numbers may be higher. Evidence suggests that up to 90% of kidnapping incidents for ransom are not reported.
Given that the average ransom demand in cases of kidnappings of executives is 2 million Euros (with some claims exceeding 90 million Euros), kidnapping is a risk that companies need to consider more carefully.
Beyond extreme events, such as attacks and kidnappings, more common incidents underscore the need for security-trained drivers. Although a recent survey by the Global Business Travel Association found that 45% of business travelers rated terrorism as their biggest safety concern, vehicle accidents are actually the # 1 threat. Nearly 1.3 million people die in road accidents each year.
Why you need a security driver
As mentioned above, security drivers can offer much more than just handling high-performance vehicles, especially in unfamiliar locations away from home or work.
For example, well-trained security drivers are usually involved in pre-mission planning to help them avoid danger. In addition, they have access to continuous threat monitoring tools that allow them to remain aware of the situation, even while driving. Those with medical education may be able to provide care to travelers experiencing emergency symptoms while on the road.
Beyond that, how security drivers can support the time and productivity of their executives on the road should be considered part of an organization’s broader asset protection program. For executives, time is money – and that’s still true in the car. Because a trained driver is able to avoid unpleasant and catastrophic situations, there will be fewer distractions or interruptions in transit that could derail productivity or lead to costly route changes.
Select a security driver
There is no official definition of “security driver”. There is no central authority whose credentials you can trust to guide you to the right provider. It is important to properly review the solutions that claim to offer security services. Evaluate the reliability of security qualifications with questions such as:
Do drivers have specialized skills or experience related to this specialty?
What kind of safety-oriented driving lessons have they completed?
Are they capable and prepared to deal with emergencies?
What kind of experience do they have in managing operational risk?
Use these questions to eliminate providers who use these terms loosely. The above questions are a starting point. Then, if you are OK with the answers you have received, ask further about the suitability of the provider solution for your specific needs.
Are drivers subject to initial and repeated history checks?
What information will I have from my driver prior to pick-up?
Will my drtiver know the area?
What preparations will be made before traveling?
What real-time monitoring tools will be available to the driver?
In addition to safety and protection, will my driver be able to provide the level of service and discretion my executive expects?
Apply this framework whether you are hiring an internal driver or outsourcing of your travel needs. Given the variability of needs and locations, the correct answer may be either one or a combination of the two.
Ultimately, there is no right way to go about choosing a trained security driver. Only when you understand the real threats posed by land transfer – and how to find the proper solution that will best help mitigate this risk – will you be able to make the right decision about your traveling needs.