185 – Driving and Sunglasses, What it Takes to Make an Armored Car, Tom Cruise’s Stolen BMW X7

Preliminary numbers for the 2021 Executive Vehicle & Secure Transportation Survey

A little background if you are not familiar with the survey. The Survey is conducted every two years since 2013. Over the last eight years, the survey has covered various aspects of secure transportation. The goal of the survey is to examine trends and collect data to develop a broader perspective on the secure transportation profession. The 2021 survey is unique because it covers the span of time that the industry was dealing with the Pandemic. The final report will examine the differences in the metrics covering the eight-year time span, emphasizing the change from 2019 to 2021. The following are some preliminary numbers.

Use of Armored Vehicles

Seventy-Four percent of those who took part in the survey do not use an armored vehicle.

Note – The use of armored vehicles has fluctuated from 15.5% in 2013 to 22.9% in 2015 and 14.1% in 2017. In 2019 the number of participants using armored vehicles jumped to thirty-six percent, and in 2021 that number fell to 26%.

Use of Rental Cars

Do you use rental vehicles while supplying protective or secure transportation services? Fifty-eight percent of the survey participants use rental vehicles, and the most often rented vehicle was an SUV. This reinforces the need to have a driver who understands the differences between the driving characteristics of sedans and SUVs.

When Traveling, Do You Hire Drivers?

Thirty-Nine percent of participants employ security drivers when traveling— a figure much lower than 2019.

The question that should be of interest to all Security Drivers and those who provide Secure Transportation is that 61% will require drivers to show proof of vaccinations and that the vehicles have been sanitized.

The final report will offer suggestions and educational material.

Driving and Sunglasses

Many security drivers drive in the sunrise and the sunset. Blinding glare from low sunlight or bright light reflecting off snow, puddles, other vehicles, or even your own hood can be potentially lethal. Glare is frequently cited as the cause of traffic accidents, but the right pair of sunglasses can prevent it. There is some confusion, though, about what sunglasses you should wear when driving. ISDA asked the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians for guidance.

Clarity of vision

There are two essential requirements for lenses to be used for driving – vision must remain clear, and there must be sufficient light to let you see correctly. Sunglasses for general use can be too dark or unsuitable for driving—sunglass lenses for driving fall into two main categories – fixed and variable tint.

Fixed-tint lenses

These remain the same darkness regardless of light conditions. Fixed-tint sunglasses are readily available, and a fixed tint can be added to prescription or corrective glasses, too.

Polarized lenses normally have a fixed tint, but their inherent properties can significantly help reduce glare. Their effect can be evident on wet roads.

Variable-tint lenses

Generally known as photochromic lenses, these have the advantage of changing their color density when exposed to UV light. When the UV source fades, the lenses revert to their previously clear state.

While ideal for general wear, photochromic lenses are not suitable for driving because car windshields filter out UV light, which slows and limits the reaction of the lenses.  You could find yourself driving with lenses too dark or too light as a result.

Several manufacturers produce lenses that can also be made to your prescription and adapt to varying light conditions when driving.  Check with your optician and mention that you need them for driving.

For Corporate ISDA Members responsible for security drivers, we recommend the company ensures that the drivers have adequate protection against solar glare. You cannot avoid something you can’t see.

Links covering sunglasses and recommendations.




How to choose sunglasses for driving

Improve your driving at night: With tips on glasses and lenses

Are polarized sunglasses good for night driving?

Clear Window To The Road

Top 5 Best Sunglasses for Driving

What it Takes to Make an Armored Car

Our next topic comes from an interesting and informative article from the February issue of Motor Trend Magazine. The article titled “What it Takes to Make an Armored Car” covers the process used by armored vehicle manufacturers to produce an armored vehicle. It covers the subjects of Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, Payload, the types of armored material used, such as opaque and transparent armor. The article also covers what they call overlapping, a thin band that goes around the perimeter of the door or on the vehicle’s frame that prevents rounds from entering the vehicle within the seams of the door. And of course, they cover the cost of doing all that.


Episode 176 – The Basics of Armored Vehicles and Their Use in Protective Services

Episode 149 – Five Vehicle Characteristics that Affect Safety and Security


Tom Cruise’s Stolen BMW X7

Our last topic this week is one that a few EP groups were chatting about. The theft of Tom Cruise’s BMW X7. It was outside Birmingham Grand Hotel while Tom Cruise was shooting for Mission Impossible 7.

The vehicle was transportation for the actor Tom Cruise. It contained Mr. Cruise’s luggage when the vehicle was stolen. From all reports, he was not happy, and we would imagine that the transportation providers had some explaining to do.

Not knowing the actual circumstances, it’s hard to place blame, but the ultimate responsibility lies with the driver and the company supplying Mr. Cruise with his transportation.

What is of concern to Security Drivers and Secure Transportation providers is how the thieves stole the BMW.

The thieves allegedly used a scanner to clone the car’s keyless ignition fob.

Lately, car thieves have found a way around this security measure and have started using devices called code grabbers to perform what is called a SERA (or ‘Signal Extender Relay Attack’).

If you Google “Signal Extender Relay Attack,” you will find a substantial number of websites where you can purchase a device that will clone your car keys and allow thieves to enter your vehicle.

We have links to articles in the show notes that cover the subject of Vehicle Cyber Security. ISDA is putting together a white paper concerning the problem, and it will be available to our members.

In the interim, we suggest looking into and investing in a product called a Faraday Bag.

Commonly referred to as signal-blocking pouches. The Faraday bags, lined with layers of metallic material, can block a key’s signals from reaching the outside world. A faraday bag provides a signal blocker for your vehicle key fob. This prevents thieves from picking up and relaying signals from your key to shield against break-ins and keyless ignition theft.

We are sure you won’t be surprised to discover that you can purchase them from Amazon. Also, you can buy similar Faraday Bags for your phone.

A company called Silent Pocket sells Faraday Bags for your Key FOB and your Cell Phones.


Securing vehicles from potential cybersecurity threats

Keyless car theft: What is a relay attack, how can you prevent it, and does your car insurance cover it?

7 Things to Know About Faraday Bags

If you have an interest in going much deeper into these types of topics, I invite you to check out the International Security Driver Association’s website and consider joining the membership to gain access to the encyclopedia of executive protection and secure transportation – The ISDA Knowledge Center.

For more information on all of the member benefits head over to isdacenter.org.

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