The Transportation Security Administration released a report Thursday warning of the threat of vehicle ramming attacks by terrorists with the intention to inflict death, injury and property damage, specifically in highly populated areas.
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The report, which shares guidance to the trucking and bus industry on countermeasures to combat the danger, notes that "from 2014 through 2017, terrorists carried out 17 known vehicle ramming attacks worldwide, resulting in 173 fatalities and 667 injuries."
In the most deadly case, a truck in Nice, France, was used to kill 86 pedestrians and injure an additional 434 in a crowd celebrating Bastille Day last July.
The TSA describes such attacks as "unsophisticated," but says they could be carried out "with minimal planning and training." The report specifically singles out "events that draw large groups" as an "attractive vehicle ramming target."
Indicators suggesting an attack could occur include modifications to commercial vehicles, nervousness exhibited by persons buying or renting such a vehicle, and attempts to infiltrate areas usually unoccupied by large vehicles, according to the TSA.
Countermeasures include instructing commercial drivers to be aware of suspicious activities, having cities install vehicle barriers around large gatherings and utilizing safety features such as remote disabling devices and silent alarms.
"No community, large or small, rural or urban, is immune to attacks of this kind by organized or 'lone wolf' terrorists," writes the TSA.