January 3, 2009 By News Report
The Transportation Security Administration announced last week the completion of over 1 million fingerprint-based background checks on truck drivers required to carry a Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME) on a commercial driver's license.
Since starting operations almost four years ago, the HME Threat Assessment Program has completed a review of 1,015,660 applications and approved more than 1 million.
"Truckers are another set of eyes on the road and are part of the security network," said TSA Deputy Administrator Gale Rossides. "They play a vital role in keeping our freeways, streets, counties and cities safe."
Applicants who initially may not meet the eligibility requirements can take advantage of a robust redress program without losing their HME in the process. TSA rules give states the flexibility to extend HMEs for drivers whose background assessments are still pending, providing applicants the opportunity to continue to work should they request an appeal or waiver. Applicants that are disqualified by TSA may seek a review by the U.S. Coast Guard Advocate Law Judge.
Some examples of shipments classified as hazardous materials include gasoline, explosives, radioactive and infectious substances, propane, chlorine, acids, ammonia and other poisonous gases. Drivers must renew the TSA background assessment at least every five years, although a state may require renewals that are more frequent.
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