Higher costs coming for hazmat CDL applications

An interim rule covering new commercial driver license (CDL) requirements for those hauling hazardous materials should be ready for publication in the Federal Register by the end of January or in early February, according to Julie Anna Cirillo, assistant administrator and chief safety officer at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The new requirements are mandated by the USA Patriot Act, one of the anti-terrorism laws passed by Congress following the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington DC.

The law requires the Department of Transportation to verify that truck drivers certified for hazardous materials do not pose a security threat, Cirillo told those attending Chemicalweek’s 7th annual Transportation & Distribution Conference January 14 and 15 in New Orleans LA. The requirements will apply to any truck driver operating in the United States, including Canadian and Mexican citizens.

While many of the details are still to be worked out, Cirillo said, there is no doubt that the new rules will make it more expensive and time consuming to obtain or renew a CDL. The mandated FBI background check will take at least 24 hours from time of receipt. DOT will need several weeks to review the application. “We’re hoping that we can turn CDL applications in a month or less,” Cirillo said. “We still don’t know how much more CDLs will cost, but the FBI fee for background checks is around $25. There will be other costs in addition to that.”

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