According to today’s Federal Register, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a Final Rule [Docket No. TSA-2003-14610] that will implement mandatory fingerprint-identification background checks for HazMat drivers operating in all states effective January 31, 2005.
This delays the original April 1, 2004 implementation to allow states ample time to make changes to existing commercial driver safety and testing programs. Before the 2005 deadline TSA will work with states to begin fingerprint collection and submission pilot programs.
Prior to the deadline, TSA will conduct name-based, terrorist-focused checks on drivers who are currently authorized to transport hazardous materials. If TSA discovers during the course of these name-based checks that an individual is suspected of posing or poses a security threat, TSA will initiate action to revoke the individual's HazMat endorsement.
Name checks will be referenced with terrorist and criminal databases as well as immigration records to identify possible threats.
TSA will complete a rulemaking proceeding to collect fees to cover the cost of each security threat assessment. In the near future, TSA will issue a rule that establishes reasonable fees to cover the cost of the HazMat driver security threat assessment.
Many states must initiate rulemaking or enact new legislation to authorize the collection of fees to cover any state costs associated with the new program.