How to Keep On Truckin’ Without Those Pesky Illegals

The Tracker Trailer can detect insects in cargo, but the gadget is being marketed to truckers more concerned about stowaways with two legs, not six.

J.R. Irwin, Associate Editor

December 22, 2015

3 Min Read
How to Keep On Truckin’ Without Those Pesky Illegals


Here’s a high-tech addition to Donald Trump’s toolbox of deterrents to illegal immigration: a portable carbon-dioxide detector designed to find people hiding in truck cargo areas.

The maker of the Tracker Trailer CO2 Detector, 360 Advantage, claims the £199 ($297) gadget can detect humans and animals within a 40-ft. (12-m) radius inside the trailer in real time and issue an alert within five seconds via text message, email or Bluetooth connection.

The Tracker Trailer also features gas-reading capability to detect insects in cargo, 360 Advantage says. That could be useful in the transport of foodstuffs or the like, but the device is being marketed to truckers more concerned about stowaways with two legs, not six.

A blurb for the Tracker Trailer appeared a few months back in a newsletter issued by the Freight Transport Assn., a U.K.-based trade association whose members have been besieged by gangs of refugees camped out at Calais, France, where they have made repeated attempts to illegally enter the U.K. in trucks using the Channel Tunnel.

Questions emailed to 360 Advantage about the number of Tracker Trailers in use, and their track record in nabbing illegals, weren’t immediately answered. But any and all technology appears to be overwhelmed at Calais, where truckers are caught in the middle of an escalating crisis.

“I am flabbergasted at what I have seen today,“ Chris Yarsley, an FTA executive based in Brussels, says in a news release issued Dec. 17 by the trade group.

“There were literally thousands of migrants benefiting from the queue of slow-moving traffic on the roads around Calais. They were attacking vehicles; breaking the locks of trucks, slashing roofs of the lorries and climbing in the back of them.

“French Police were highly visible and were taking extreme measures to break up the crowds including using tear gas and closing the motorway in order to control the situation, but appeared to be overwhelmed by the numbers.”

The refugees don’t appear to be deterred by the long odds of making it to Britain aboard a truck trailer hauled through the Chunnel by rail; many take their chances on foot.

Eurotunnel officials say authorities have blocked more than 37,000 attempts to escape the Continent via the tunnel this year. A handful have walked the 31 miles (50 km), only to be promptly arrested, and at least a dozen have died, many of them hit by trains traveling up to 100 mph (161 km/h).

Besides old-school fences, U.S. authorities rely extensively on person-detection technology including license-plate scanners, mobile X-ray, radar and camera units to catch illegals. The maker of the MicroSearch G3 says the system detects people hiding in vehicles or containers loaded on vehicles by sensing the vibrations caused by the human heartbeat.

I experienced electronic vigilance firsthand about three weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks at the border crossing at Buffalo, NY.

As the GMC Jimmy I was driving was being scanned, an agent shouted to his colleagues, “We got a hot one here!” I was ordered to pull out of the queue and stand inside a cement-block enclosure while being vigorously wanded.

As it turned out, the Border Patrol radiation detector was triggered not by anything in the CUV but by the radioactive isotope injected into my bloodstream days earlier for a treadmill test ordered by my cardiologist.

At least I wasn’t arrested, something that can happen to a truck driver who transports illegal immigrants into the U.K. even without his knowledge. If that doesn’t help sell Tracker Trailers, I don’t know what will.

About the Author(s)

J.R. Irwin

Associate Editor, WardsAuto

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.

You May Also Like