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TSA urged to focus on sensitive hazmat

Enhancing transportation security would be better served if the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) narrowed its program to focus on sensitive hazardous materials rather than all hazardous materials, according to testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Todd Spencer, executive vice-president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), voiced support of House Resolution HR5560, the Professional Driver Background Check Efficiency Act of 2006, that would set a $50 maximum charge per individual for hazmat endorsements.

In his testimony, Spencer said TSA's current security threat process is “wrought with inefficiencies” and it is “an overreaching solution to a problem that has not been fully identified, and for which truckers are saddled with unnecessary burdens and expenses.”

Spencer cited a number of flaws with the current hazmat background check system, including excessive out-of-pocket costs, a shortage of facilities, a lack of truck parking, and the amount of time needed to get results.

He said it is important that the Homeland Security Department recognize the vulnerability and need for security for all trucks on the road.

“We have long said that in the many areas where there is insufficient truck parking, truckers are forced to improvise by finding parking on on-ramps, exit ramps, the side of the road, and out-of-the-way industrial areas that close for the night. Terrorists are not going to get a commercial driver license and a security-sensitive hazmat permit if such vehicles are sitting ducks in so many places in the country,” said Spencer.

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