Trailer Talk

One Kingpin Locked, Another Bare in North Carolina

Here's an atta-boy to the driver who slapped this lock in place.

May 6, 2014

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See the kingpin lock in place on that parked reefer trailer? That’s what I’m talkin’ about – or did, in a previous blog about trailers sitting in public places just ready to be pulled away by anybody

I spotted this intelligently locked trailer last week at a small truckstop near Asheville in western North Carolina. I had pulled in there with a Volvo VNX heavy-haul tractor and parked it and its loaded East flatbed before going into the building with my Volvo hosts to take a break.

On the way back to the rig I glanced at the reefer and saw the kingpin lock in place. “All right!” I said. “That just makes so much sense.”

By the unladen look of its tires and the silent reefer unit it appeared to be empty. Even so, the Utility trailer and Carrier reefer are worth what -- $35,000 or $40,000 new? Why not protect it from theft instead of returning to re-hook and finding it gone? Wouldn’t it be embarrassing to have to call that in?

A manager at Greatwide Transportation, the trailer’s owner, said that “using kingpin locks is not mandatory but is something left up to each individual driver.” So, here’s an atta-boy to the driver who slapped this lock in place.

By contrast, three slots away was a dropdeck flat with a load of structural steel and who-knows-what under a tarp on its nose. Its kingpin was bare and just begging to be clamped onto by a fifth wheel and tractor driven by a soulless creep.

What was the clean Transcraft steel-and-aluminum trailer and its load worth -- $100,000? Why would anyone park something like that without securing it? I saw no company markings on the trailer so couldn’t call anyone to ask.

At about $20 to $90, a kingpin lock isn’t that expensive, especially compared to the worth of a trailer and its cargo. Sure, it won’t seriously discourage someone who really wants to steal this particular trailer because he wants what’s inside. But for somebody more casual, a lock might send him looking for something easier to swipe.



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Author Bio

Tom Berg

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Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.


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