The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has postponed mandatory fingerprint-identification background checks for hazmat drivers until January 31, 2005.
The new date was announced as part of a Final Rule published in the Federal Register on April 6. (Docket No.TSA-2003-14610.)
TSA had originally set April 1, 2004, as the effective date for all states to institute fingerprint checks when issuing or renewing CDLs with hazmat endorsements.
The purpose of the delay is to allow states ample time to make changes to their existing CDL processes. TSA plans to work with states to set up pilot programs for fingerprint collection and submission procedures.
In the meantime, the agency will conduct name-based security checks on drivers who are currently authorized to transport hazardous materials. If TSA discovers that someone poses a security threat, or is even suspected of posing one, it will initiate action to revoke that person's hazmat endorsement. Names of CDL hazmat holders will be cross-referenced against terrorist and criminal databases, as well as immigration records.
TSA also plans to establish a fee structure to cover the cost of completing the security checks for hazmat drivers.