CDL authentication standards at issue in Congress

CDL authentication standards at issue in Congress

Congress is considering a provision in the Senate version of the highway bill that would require states to set “identity authentication standards” to ensure Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) applicants are who they say they are

Congress is considering a provision in the Senate version of the highway bill that would require states to set “identity authentication standards” to ensure Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) applicants are who they say they are. The legislation, which would also apply to the transfer, renewal or upgrading of CDLs, requires that states use third-party vendors to share and authenticate information.

The Secretary of the Dept. of Transportation would consult with the Dept. of Homeland Security and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to establish the minimum requirements for states to comply with the authentication standards within 180 days of the provision’s enactment.

According to the Washington Post, likely “third-party” candidates would include ChoicePoint, LexisNexis and Acxiom, which collect, buy and sell personal information on nearly all U.S. adults.

Jason King, spokesperson for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) said the measure does not spell out how it would be funded and could potentially pass along the cost to the applicant.

“[AAMVA] sees this provision as redundant and perhaps costly to state DMVs (Dept. of Motor Vehicles), and that cost could be passed along to commercial drivers,” King told Fleet Owner.

The measure would complement the recently enacted Real ID Act, which implements regulations for state driver's license and identification document security standards. On May 31, the Transportation Security Administration implemented the final phase of its hazmat threat assessment program, which requires applicants and holders of hazmat-endorsed CDLs to submit fingerprints and be checked with criminal databases.

“Additionally, Real ID spells out even further how states shall verify the identification of all drivers,” King said. “Today, states verify social security numbers and date of birth of commercial drivers. Real ID also requires states to verify the birth certificates with the issuing agency and to verify the home address of the applicant.”

The American Trucking Assns. and Truckload Carriers Assn. were contacted but weren’t available for comment.

The highway bill is being considered by Congress, with its current extension set to expire on July 27.

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