THE Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is estimating there will be one million checks involved in the future issuance and renewal of commercial driver licenses (CDL) as a result of security concerns for hazardous materials endorsements, according to Joseph M Clapp, FMCSA administrator.
“FMCSA is developing procedures for performing a security risk review process for all persons seeking issuance, renewal, upgrade, or transfer of a hazardous materials endorsement for a CDL,” Clapp said. He addressed the subject February 22 in remarks to the National Press Club in Washington DC.
Before states issue a hazmat endorsement, officials will ask the Department of Justice for a driver record investigation. The Department of Transportation will evaluate the Justice Department review, determine if there is a security risk, and pass the information on to the state that has made the review request.
“FMCSA expects to issue an interim final rule to implement this process very shortly,” Clapp said. “What this means is that license issuance and renewal will certainly take longer than it has in the past.”
While driver security has taken priority since the terrorist attacks in September 2001, other CDL regulations are on the horizon. A final rule is scheduled to be published in 2002 that will address, among other issues, non-commercial vehicle violations by a CDL holder, new major disqualifying offenses, masking of convictions, and hardship exceptions.
In addition, there is the new hour-of-service proposal that has prompted more than 50,000 comments from the transportation sector. FMCSA has concluded its analysis and review of the comments and has followed up with eight public meetings and three roundtable discussions.
“We are moving forward with additional work on regulatory evaluation under contract,” Clapp said.