Background checks delayed for Canadian hazmat drivers
Feb 10, 2006 8:32 AM
Canadian carriers and truck drivers can temporarily breathe a sigh of relief now that the United States has announced its intention to extend the February 10, 2006, deadline for background checks of foreign drivers of hazardous materials (hazmat) until August 10, 2006, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).
CTA long ago proposed the FAST (Free and Secure Trade) driver card as a means to allow foreign driver compliance with the background check requirement for hazmat drivers. (FAST applicants must also be fingerprinted and have background checks performed and approved by the US and Canada. A system to process FAST cards is already in place, and over 50,000 have been issued.)
"The extension of the deadline, and the expected announcement that the FAST card will be accepted by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), is great news for Canada and for Canadian carriers," said David Bradley, CTA chief executive officer. "The FAST card option we proposed more than two years ago, if accepted by TSA, would not only solve the hazmat security check dilemma, but also add value to the FAST program.
The requirement is currently being phased in for US hazmat drivers, who must pass a background security check before obtaining or renewing hazardous materials endorsements on commercial driver licenses (CDLs).
A similar endorsement for Canadian hazmat truck drivers is problematic, CTA said. Unlike hazmat drivers in the United States, Canadian drivers are not required to have a hazmat endorsement on their commercial driver licenses.
It is expected TSA will make a further announcement regarding the use of the FAST driver card as a means for foreign hazmat drivers to meet its requirement.
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