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January 24, 2007 8:00 AM, EST

Security & Safety Briefs — Jan. 18 - Jan. 24

This briefing can be e-mailed to you every week. Just click here to register.The Latest Headlines:

Driver Gets Life in Smuggling Deaths

A truck driver was spared the death penalty but sentenced to life in prison Thursday for his role in a journey that ended in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants crammed into a hot tractor-trailer, the Associated Press reported.Tyrone Williams, 36, was convicted in December on 58 counts of conspiracy, harboring and transporting immigrants. Williams, a Jamaican citizen who lived in Schenectady, N.Y., was one of 14 people charged in the case.It was the deadliest such incident in the United States, AP reported.More than 70 immigrants were locked for hours inside his trailer during the 2003 trip from South Texas to Houston. Nineteen died from dehydration, overheating and suffocation. Williams abandoned the container near Victoria, about 100 miles southwest of Houston. Transport Topics

New Passport Rule Takes Effect

Americans flying to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean must bring their passports under a new rule that took effect Tuesday requiring them to show a passport to get back into the United States.The new regulations requiring passports were adopted by Congress in 2004 to secure the borders against terrorists.Starting Tuesday, Canadian, Mexican and Bermudan air travelers, as well as U.S. citizens flying home from those countries or the Caribbean, must display their passports to enter the United States.Only about a quarter of U.S. citizens hold valid passports, the Associated Press reported. Transport Topics

Okla. Study Cites Cellphone Accident Hazards

Traffic collisions caused by cellphone use are a growing problem in Oklahoma, according to figures collected by Oklahoma state highway officials, the Associated Press reported.The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reported cellphone-involved crashes in the state increased by 31% to 775 in 2005, from 592 the previous year.In 2000, OHSO recorded only 88 such crashes, with the rate of increase through 2005, compounded annually, 54.5% a year, according to figures obtained from OHSO data analyst Kathy Evans by Tulsa World, AP reported.The total number of vehicle crashes in Oklahoma dropped to 75,511 in 2005 from 76,156 in 2004, according to OHSO. Transport Topics

N.D. Lawmaker Wants 40-Mph Minimum on Interstates

North Dakota’s interstate highways have a 75 mph speed limit but no minimum speed, which creates potential hazards, according to a state legislator who wants a minimum-speed-limit law.Rep. Ed Gruchalla asked the North Dakota House’s Transportation Committee to endorse legislation he is sponsoring to set a 40 mph minimum speed on interstates, the Associated Press reported.During a hearing, Gruchalla, a former state highway patrolman, said the measure may have to be changed to ensure no one is ticketed for driving less than 40 mph during poor weather. The committee did not immediately make a recommendation on the bill. He is sponsoring a separate bill to raise state fines for speeding and other traffic violations. Transport TopicsPrevious Security & Safety Briefs