Truck hijacking (British English: lorry hijacking) is the taking of a truck by force, or the threat of force to the driver, for the consignment being carried, or for using the vehicle for other illegal purposes including terrorism.
Unlike carjacking, where the vehicle is taken over for the purpose of car robbery, the object of truck hijacking may alternatively be to steal the load, which is easier to sell than the commercial vehicle itself. Alternative motives are for using the vehicle for other illegal purposes. Truck hijackers are usually violent, professional thieves, who have planned the method of attack, the captivity of the driver, and a location where the trailer will be unloaded, and have the capacity to fence the load once they have it.
Fundamental to all truck hijacking is that the vehicle is in a stop position. The attack, therefore, can take place at any time the vehicle is stationary. However, the thieves often use social engineering techniques to ensure that the vehicle stops at an agreed, or convenient, location to the hijackers.
The initial approach may necessitate creating a situation where the driver is more relaxed in a 'stop' location, whether at a location where the driver is taking a break, or purportedly being stopped by police.
The truck driver is then quickly overpowered, and often placed in the passenger-side foot well, bunk area, in another vehicle used by the thieves or simply left on the road. On occasions, he can be forced to drive the hijacked truck to a destination dictated by the hijackers, whilst in fear of, or under threat of, violence. Vehicle tracking technology can help detect this kind of detour.
Any load can be subject to hijack; it is not only vehicles that are pulling/carrying high-value loads. Key areas of awareness are fundamental for any truck driver who may face hijacking. Awareness of the situation should take into account when a driver is most vulnerable, being approached using subterfuge and opportunity.