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CDL background checks for hazmat drivers will require strong, extensive cooperation

The effective and efficient implementation of hazardous materials driver background checks will require strong cooperation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), states, industry groups, and other stakeholders, according to testimony by the Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General. Todd Zinser, deputy inspector general, made the comments May 11 to the House Subcommittee on Highways, Transit, and Pipelines.

Zinser said TSA estimates that there are 2.7 million commercial driver license (CDL) holders authorized to carry hazardous materials. However, criminal history record checks and intelligence checks of these individuals have only recently begun and are far from completed.

He recommended monitoring the data to identify problems, indepth oversight of states' adherence to the rules, and checks by FMCSA to ensure that states capture and record the results of CDL holders' background records checks in a consistent and uniform manner.

The new deadline for beginning background records checks for new CDL hazmat endorsement applicants was Jan 31, 2005; it is May 31, 2005, for CDL holders who wish to renew their existing hazmat endorsement when it expires and for CDL holders who wish to transfer their existing hazmat endorsement to another state and have not received a background records check. TSA estimates that for each year from 2004 to 2013, 407,000 fingerprint applications will be collected from new applicants, renewals, and transfers.

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