January 10, 2007 8:10 AM, EST

Security & Safety Briefs — Jan. 4 - Jan. 10

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

Highway Watch Report Leads to Arrest

A report made by a Highway Watch participant led to an arrest and subsequent joint investigation by New York and Rhode Island authorities, Highway Watch officials said.A participant made a report to the program’s call center regarding suspected suspicious behavior by a commercial driver student seeking a hazmat endorsement.That person was later identified as Mohammed Yusef Mullawala, an Indian resident of Pakistani descent. Investigators learned that he possessed driver’s licenses in three states — New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island — and that his visa had expired.Police and security officials are seeking to deport Mullawala, who is being held in custody, the Providence Journal reported Tuesday.Highway Watch is a program managed by American Trucking Associations that recruits and trains truck drivers to identify and report security and safety situations on the nation’s roads. Transport Topics

McMurray Named FMCSA’s Chief Safety Officer

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said Friday that Rose McMurray has been appointed Chief Safety Officer for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.McMurray has been FMCSA’s associate administrator for policy and program development since 2003.She has more than 30 years of experience at DOT, serving in a variety of associate administrator and other senior leadership roles in several operating administrations, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration, DOT said.“Rose has dedicated her entire career to transportation safety. Her numerous highway safety positions and solid results bring an impressive safety background to her new appointment,” Peters said in a statement. “She has the experience we need to succeed in our effort to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.” Transport Topics

Mass. Trucking Company Files Complaint Against FMCSA

A Springfield, Mass., trucking company filed a federal complaint last week against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Springfield News-Leader reported Thursday.O&S Trucking alleged that FMCSA posted inaccurate information about the company on its Web site, the paper reported, citing documents filed at Springfield’s federal courthouse.The company alleged that an incorrect process agent was listed for O&S Trucking. FMCSA had not filed a response as of Thursday, the News-Leader said. Transport Topics

Survey Cites Drivers’ HOS Compliance Concerns

Almost 17% of respondents to a survey felt it was necessary to violate hours-of-service rules in order to earn a reasonable income, while 38% strongly disagreed with that assumption, according to a survey of drivers.The survey, released this month by the Web site Ol’ Blue USA, said “a disturbing amount of respondents, 38%, said their company expects them to violate the regulations as part of their job.” Ol’ Blue USA is a nonprofit safety group founded in 1986.About 68% — with 31% somewhat and 37% strongly agreeing — thought law enforcement officers do not understand how to relate to commercial motor vehicle drivers, the survey said.About 60% felt strongly that it was important to obey HOS rules, but 62% do not know where to go to get answers about the regulations. Almost 70% of the respondents felt that the HOS regulations are difficult to understand and easy to violate accidentally. Transport Topics

No Charges Expected in Miami Port Alert

Three legal immigrants in a cargo truck were detained at the Port of Miami on Sunday after a routine inspection raised concerns, but police say the incident may have stemmed in part from a language barrier and that they did not expect to file charges, the Associated Press reported.The port’s cargo area was shut down Sunday as the Miami-Dade bomb squad X-rayed the truck and scanned it for radioactive materials. Nothing unusual was found, officials said.The men in the truck — two Iraqis and one Lebanese national — remained detained by local police Sunday evening, but authorities said no federal charges were expected. Officials initially said the men, all permanent U.S. residents, had been caught trying to slip past a checkpoint at the port’s entrance.A port security officer became suspicious when the truck driver could not produce proper paperwork in a routine inspection to enter the port about 8 a.m., AP reported.The driver also indicated he was alone in the truck, though security officers found two other men in the cab, police said. The two passengers, ages 28 and 29, were a friend and a relative of the 20-year-old Iraqi driver, AP said. Transport Topics

Gas Odor Investigated in New York City

Authorities were investigating the source of a mysterious gas-like odor Monday that stretched across a large part of New York City, the Associated Press reported.Department of Homeland Security officials in New York said there was likely no link to any possible terrorism, CNN reported.Maria Pignataro, a spokeswoman for the Jersey City, N.J., mayor’s office, said officials there were told the odor was due to a gas leak in a Manhattan neighborhood, AP reported.The utility company Consolidated Edison was investigating, AP said.The New York Fire Department began getting calls about the odor around 9 a.m. Monday, AP reported. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey suspended some of commuter train service between New Jersey and Manhattan as a precaution. Transport Topics

Ariz. Border Patrols to End Roving Checkpoints

The U.S. Border Patrol has stopped moving its checkpoints in southern Arizona now that Rep. Jim Kolbe (R) has retired, the Associated Press reported.The Tucson-area lawmaker for years championed moving checkpoints as more effective in catching illegal immigrants and inserted language in appropriations bills prohibiting permanent installations in Southern Arizona.With Kolbe’s retirement, Border Patrol Tucson sector Chief Michael Nicley issued a directive to stop moving the checkpoints every seven to 14 days as required by earlier funding laws, AP said.The Tucson sector is now operating six full-time checkpoints in southern Arizona. Area officials are working with Border Patrol headquarters in Washington and the Arizona Department of Transportation to select locations and obtain permits for permanent inspection stations, AP reported. Transport TopicsPrevious Security & Safety Briefs