Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, July 30, 2020:
TSA extends hazmat endorsement renewal waiver through October
The Transportation Security Administration is extending for 90 days a waiver from renewal of the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Security Threat Assessment for certain individuals.
TSA first published the waiver on April 8 that allows states to extend hazmat endorsement expiration dates for those that expired on or after March 1. The waiver was set to expire July 31, and it will now be effective through at least Oct. 29.
The agency says states and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators requested the extension because states continue facing challenges in maintaining regular operations at state driver’s license agencies due to COVID-19.
TSA adds that drivers looking to renew their hazmat endorsements must initiate a security threat assessment at least 60 days before the end of the state-granted extension.
Oklahoma raises speed limit on rural turnpike sections
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority announced this week it will raise the speed limits from 75 mph to 80 mph on rural segments of five turnpikes. OTA will also establish an 80 mph maximum speed limit on the Kickapoo Turnpike, which is scheduled to open later this year.
The locations total 104 miles of highway and include:
- Turner Turnpike from mile marker 203 to mile marker 216, between Bristow and Sapulpa – 13 miles
- Muskogee Turnpike from mile marker 2 to mile marker 33, between Muskogee and Tulsa – 31 miles
- Cherokee Turnpike from mile marker 3 to mile marker 28 – 25 miles
- Indian Nation Turnpike from mile marker 93 to mile marker 104, between SH-9 and I-40 – 11 miles
- H.E. Bailey Turnpike (Norman Spur) from mile marker 102 to mile marker 107 – 5 miles
- Kickapoo Turnpike (scheduled to open later this year) from mile marker 130 to mile marker 149, between I-40 and the Turner Turnpike – 19 miles
Existing speed limits on the Will Rogers Turnpike, main segment of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike, Cimarron Turnpike and Chickasaw Turnpike will not be changed as part of this action, based on factors considered.
New signs will be installed over the next few months, OTA says. Until new signs are posted, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol will be enforcing the current posted speed limit.
Mississippi police searching for missing trucker
Police in Mississippi are looking for a truck driver whose truck was found unattended at a rest area.
According to a news report from the Biloxi Sun Herald, police in Gautier found a tractor-trailer believed to have been driven by 47-year-old Dimitri Rai Williams parked at an Interstate 10 eastbound rest area Tuesday morning.
The report says Williams was last seen around 6 a.m. Monday when he parked his truck got into a black SUV that followed him to the rest area. The report adds that Williams has not been seen since, and his cell phone was recovered by police.
The company Williams works for tracked his truck with GPS and reported his absence to police. Gautier police called the situation “really suspicious,” according to the report.
Anyone with knowledge of Williams’ whereabouts is asked to contact Gautier Police Department at 228-497-2486. Anonymous tips can also be made by contacting Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers online or by phone at 877-787-5898.