With today’s technology full of tracking devices via GPS there shouldn’t be a reason you shouldn’t know where your equipment is located at all times. However, guys starting out in this industry that are either smaller carriers, or owner operators with an extra truck or two never feel the need to invest money into tracking their trucks. Often you find yourself with a driver that seems knowledgeable, has experience with a clean record and you feel that you shouldn’t have to worry about your truck and trailer. Unfortunately, you can never know what type of a driver you hired until it is too late. He may have depression issues, alcohol or drug addictions, or even be a complete sociopath. If your equipment is ever abandoned is can become a nightmare real quick, and it can be costly to recover it.

Reasons Why Truck Drivers Abandon Semi Trucks & Trailers: 

  • Compensation: There are carriers and owner operators that don’t compensate drivers what they worked for. At the same time, some drivers may feel that they weren’t compensated as much as they thought they would be for the reason of driving a longer route in belief that extra miles they drove will be paid, when there was no reason to do such a thing.
  • Lanes & Home Time: If a driver doesn’t like the lanes and routes you are offering him, chances are he has been looking for a new job, and is ready to abandon your truck and trailer as soon as he is 100% he has a new truck to drive else where. If a drivers feels as if he hasn’t had enough home time, or finds a reason that he needs to go home, chances are down the road once he saves enough money, or secures another line of work, he will abandon your truck.
  • Forced To Drive Illegally: Never force a driver to break laws, especially HOS rules and regulations. Anytime a driver is forced to do so, and has proof that you have forced them to violate HOS rules and regulations he may feel entitled to abandon your truck.
  • Drugs & Alcohol: There are drivers that appear to be friendly, happy guys. Dark side of them is only on the road. You will noticed patterns of low communications, repeated illness, excuses for poor performance such as late deliveries. At this point they will ask for cash advances, and are ready to take a month or two off and do drugs or soak in alcohol. Instead of returning the equipment, they tend to simply disappear.
  • Being Fired: When a driver knows he is being fired for late deliveries, being put out of service for no good reason, or threats, they will leave the equipment because they don’t believe that they will be paid, and also in some cases may try to hold it hostage instead of returning it to the terminal that you asked them to leave it.

What Can Happen To My Semi Truck That Is Abandoned Or Held Hostage By A Truck Driver?

  • Driver may sell parts such as your tools, fuel, spare tires, or even brand new tires to swap with old tires with an owner operator that’s low on money, or a small time shop. Any parts or accessories in the truck that belong to you may be taken and sold via craigslist, or in truck stops for low.
  • If you aren’t sure where your truck is abandoned it may be towed or impounded. By the time you find where it is you may have a lot of charges for the truck to be released, or the impound lot may put a lien on your equipment.
  • An angry driver may cause a lot of damages such as dumping gravel, sugar in your fuel tanks. Pouring water in the engine where the oil goes. Cutting up wires, stealing batteries, unscrewing lug nuts, cutting holes in the air lines, and more.

What To Do If My Semi Truck Has Been Abandoned Or Held Hostage By A Truck Driver?

  • Immediately notify the police. Report the equipment stolen and possible damage. Share the equipment’s last known location, and provide the drivers information and your equipment’s description.
  • Shut off any fuel cards, or any credit cards that might be in the driver’s possession.
  • If you have located the equipment immediately go recover it! Once you are in possession of your equipment again check the oil, lug nuts, wires, air lines, batteries. Call local police to get a report, of what you have found missing, and also while your search to make sure there are no drugs, or sign of drugs that might get you in trouble down the road.


Best way to avoid such headache is to make sure you have a GPS tracking device on your equipment. At this time if a driver is driving a different direction than advised call the state police or a scale house where your driver is headed towards, and report it stolen. They will be more than happy to pull the driver over. Report the incident on  driver’s DAC record to ensure they don’t cause the same headache to another carrier,and next time check their DAC report to make sure you avoid any chances of getting one of these drivers. Typically these drivers look to run for owner operators, and small carriers and they will ask you to pay them on a 1099.