Driver checks taking time in Canada

Canada is finding out that conducting extensive background checks on all of its commercial truck drivers is going to take many years.

LA QUINTA, CA – Canada is finding out that conducting extensive background checks on all of its commercial truck drivers is going to take many years.

Hans Martens, vp of Canadian moving company Williams International, said that all Canadian truck drivers must submit to in-depth background checks under the Commercial Driver Registration Program (CDRP) passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

However, in a speech this week at the American Moving & Storage Assn.'s annual convention, Martens said there are currently only 26 sites in Canada where commercial drivers can apply for and be checked under the CDRP. The sites can only process a maximum of 15,000 drivers a year.

With a nationwide pool of 100,000 drivers, it could take between six and seven years to get them all covered under Canada's CDRP, Martens said.

Those statistics shed some light on a similar process underway in the U.S. The USA Patriot Act calls for holders of Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) to be more closely scrutinized for all persons seeking issuance, renewal, upgrade, or transfer of a hazardous materials endorsement.

Criminal background checks of all hazmat-endorsed CDLs are supposed to be conducted from now on, meaning that, between the issuance of new licenses and renewals, close to one million checks will need to be done each year, according to the Dept. of Transportation.

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