Driver-facing cams removed from under-21 CDL program | Cocaine found in cotton candy at border

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, May 13, 2024:

FMCSA officially removing driver-facing camera requirement from under-21 pilot

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced via a Federal Register notice that will publish Tuesday, May 14, that it is removing two requirements from its under-21 interstate pilot program, as directed by Congress.

The agency’s notice revises the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot (SDAP) program to remove the requirement that fleets in the program install or use in-cab, driving-facing cameras, as well as the requirement for carriers to obtain a Registered Apprenticeship number from the Department of Labor before being allowed to participate in the SDAP program.

The transportation spending package passed by Congress in March required FMCSA to remove those stipulations to potentially boost participation in the program, which has suffered from little participation. FMCSA quickly got to work on revisions, requesting approval to amend the SDAP from the White House Office of Management and Budget in April.

[Related: Transportation spending bill aims to improve under-21 pilot participation, more]

With the change in effect, motor carriers who are already participating in the SDAP program will no longer be required to use driver-facing cameras, or to maintain their approved Registered Apprenticeship program.

Motor carriers still may voluntarily decide to install or use the cameras or become an approved Registered Apprenticeship. They may also choose to include safety alerts from driver-facing cameras as part of their monthly data submissions, yet they will not be required to do so, even if they choose to use the cameras.

The agency noted that it is again accepting applications from motor carriers to participate in the pilot program. FMCSA will also reach out to carriers who previously applied but had not obtained a Registered Apprenticeship.

[Related: One of just 16 unsupervised under-21s in FMCSA's apprenticeship program: Meet Will Dodson]

$500K worth of cocaine found in cotton candy load

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the World Trade Bridge in Laredo, Texas, seized cocaine hidden within a tractor-trailer hauling cotton candy. 

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cocaine packages CBPPackages containing 37 pounds of cocaine seized by CBP officers at World Trade Bridge in Laredo, Texas.U.S. Customs and Border ProtectionThe seizure occurred on Thursday, May 9, when a CBP officer referred a truck hauling a shipment of cotton candy for secondary inspection. Following a non-intrusive inspection system examination and deployment of CBP canines, CBP officers discovered 15 packages containing a total of 37 pounds of alleged cocaine hidden within the conveyance.

The narcotics had a combined street value of $496,879.

“Our frontline officers continue to maintain resolute vigilance and that dedication to the mission coupled with an effective use of technology resulted in the interception of a significant amount of cocaine,” said Port Director Albert Flores, Laredo Port of Entry. “Seizures like these reinforce the importance and necessity of our ongoing border security mission.”

CBP seized the narcotics. Homeland Security Investigations special agents are investigating the seizure. 

[Related: $10M in drugs hidden in load of flowers at border]

Driver named Highway Angel for helping seizure victim

Andre Reynolds, a truck driver based out of Phoenix, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for stopping to help a man who crashed his car after having a seizure. Reynolds drives for Hogan Transports out of Maryland Heights, Missouri.

Andre ReynoldsAndre ReynoldsOn April 15 around 1 p.m. in Utica, Mississippi, Reynolds was traveling on Mississippi Highway 27 when he noticed a Ford Mustang slowly turn into his lane on the two-lane (one lane each way) highway. The vehicle almost came to a stop, nearly causing a collision, then suddenly veered off the road headfirst into a ditch.

“I was so close to hitting this dude,” Reynolds said. “I wasn’t expecting that at all.”

Reynolds pulled over to check on the driver and discovered that he was having a seizure behind the wheel. “He was pretty much incoherent,” Reynolds said.

Another driver stopped to help, so Reynolds asked him to call 911 and they waited with the driver until the seizure stopped. The man was disoriented but tried to make a phone call to his father. Reynolds took charge and explained to the man’s father what had happened. “Slowly but surely, he started to come back,” Reynolds said.

Once the victim was alert and walking on his own, Reynolds left him and continued on his way.

“I wouldn’t leave somebody in a bad spot,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt to help somebody.”