The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced a final rule requiring background checks including criminal, immigration and FBI records on an estimated 3.5 million drivers certified to transport hazardous materials.
The rule takes affect upon publication in the Federal Register which is expected May 5.
Drivers or applicants with felony convictions including murder, arson and robbery over the past seven years would not be permitted to obtain or renew their hazmat endorsement, TSA officials said. Disqualified drivers would not be barred from driving non-hazmat loads.
Beginning in 180 days or less, current drivers applying to renew or transfer their hazmat endorsement and all new applicants must provide fingerprints.
Under both the FMCSA and TSA rules, after 180 days, no state may issue, renew or transfer a hazardous materials license unless TSA has notified the state that the individual holding the endorsement does not pose a security threat.
"This is a landmark rule that establishes vital safeguards to protect our national transportation network from possible acts of terrorism,” said TSA administrator James M. Loy.