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Episode 153 - Surviving Mob Attacks on Your Vehicle

Executive Protection and Secure Transportation Podcast

Release Date: 10/20/2020

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The topic of this week’s episode is Surviving Mob Attacks on Your Vehicle.

It is well established in the protection community that the time an executive spends in their vehicle is, without a doubt, the highest risk period of their day. In recent months mob attacks on a vehicle have increased the risk of Executive Vehicle Travel. 

Some suggestions and thoughts.

Know the laws in your state regarding this issue. According to a fact check - When questioned, six law professors said that laws vary by state, but essentially the legal question is whether the use of force is justified as self-defense. Experts said such use of deadly force would be legal only if the driver feared for their life, and using the vehicle was proportionate to the amount of force being used against the driver.

Comments from the legal authorities.

"The fundamental point is that a moving motor vehicle is a deadly weapon. Therefore, all these questions are, at the bottom, about when you are authorized to use deadly force against another person," said Frank Bowman III of the University of Missouri.

The question is whether the driver of the car reasonably thought he or she was about to be killed or suffer serious harm unless the car moved, said Vanderbilt University's Christopher Slobogin, and whether the driver was reasonable in thinking that anyone hit by the car "was threatening such harm or would not be seriously hurt by it." 

The fact check article is available in the Podcasts post.


From the ACLU – State by State laws accurate as of 2017


A Brief Legal Take

Is Running Over Rioters Self-Defense or A Gray Legal Area?



Have a plan for the course of action that you would take. 

We (ISDA) suggest you have a plan of what you would do in this scenario. If you hire a contractor to supply Secure Transportation, ensure they have a plan.

Real-time intelligence is probably your best tool - Keep in mind that the best way to avoid a mob attack is don't be there when it happens.

Keep abreast of the demonstrations and protest in the area that you will be moving the principle through.

If you find yourself coming to a complete stop on the highway due to a protest, do so from a distance that will keep you safe from the protesters.

If you fear for your life, call 911 and tell that you fear for your life.

Ensure that the driver knows what effect Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) will have on any decision they make to escape the issues. 

The Problem With New Vehicles

Joe Autera CEO of Vehicle Dynamics Institute, in response to an article discussing the subject of vehicle mob attacks, brought up the problems that you may face simply because of the vehicle you're driving; this is what Joe had to say. 

If you were driving a newer vehicle and moving a principal, corporate, or high net worth, you would be driving in a vehicle equipped with ADAS and be cautious of the safety equipment.  

If you're driving a later model vehicle equipped with collision avoidance, automatic emergency braking, and/or pedestrian detection technology, it should be noted that those systems may prevent you from moving forward at any speed, even a crawl, through the smallest of crowds. https://www.motortrend.com/news/automatic-emergency-braking/

It's also worth noting that in a recent test, pedestrian detection systems were found to be very unreliable at speeds over 20 mph and were ineffective at night


If your vehicle allows those systems to be disengaged or deactivated, know how to do so and practice doing so repeatedly so that under stress, you can perform the necessary steps without having to think through them. If you can't find the information for your vehicle in the owner's manual, check out YouTube for videos showing how it can be done on the specific year, make, and vehicle model you drive.

If your vehicle doesn't allow you to deactivate or disengage those systems, or if doing so is too cumbersome a process to perform quickly, or you find yourself struggling to do so when a crowd is surrounding your vehicle, your options may be limited to backing out of the crowd. Maintaining control of your vehicle while driving in reverse, particularly under stress, takes practice, which most people don't get enough of in everyday driving. Newer vehicles are also equipped with reverse speed limiters that, as the name implies, will limit how fast you can go in reverse. That speed varies on the year, make, and model of the vehicle, so you should take the time to familiarize yourself with your vehicle's characteristics.

ISDA has been preaching for all security drivers to understand the new paradigm - in many emergency scenarios, being surrounded by a mob is one of them, the driver does not control the outcome of the event - the vehicles ADAS will be making the decisions.

The time to determine what decisions the vehicles ADAS will make is not when the emergency is taking place. Over the past couple of podcast episodes, we have been discussing the effects of ADAS and security driving. We’ll leave links to the episodes in the show notes of this episode which can find by going to isdacenter.org/podcast.

A couple of other important recommendations

Not only check the laws of the state that you reside in but when traveling, check the laws of the state that you will be driving in; if you are using a secure transportation provider, ensure that they know what the laws are and that their policies align with your policies. 

Also, ensure with the Secure Transportation provider that they have communications – a dash camera – and are attuned to the protest scenario in the area that you will be driving the principle through. 


That’s it for this week, I hope you will join us next week for another episode of the EPST podcast. Show notes for this episode are available at the SecurityDriver.Com website. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Google as well as any of the podcast apps as the show is widely distributed.

If you’ve enjoyed this EPST podcast episode, we invite you to check out the International Security Driver Association.  The ISDA is a valuable resource for all practitioners working in the protection profession. We offer benchmark educational, networking, and marketing programs. Access to the encyclopedia of executive protection and secure transportation – The ISDA knowledge center. The knowledge shared encompasses a wide range of EP and ST focused topics with resources, information, and metrics.

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