NTTC questions proposed CDL changes
Apr 3, 2002 12:00 PM
Criminal background checks should be required with all commercial driver license (CDL) applications, not just those with a hazardous materials (HM) endorsement, according to Cliff Harvison, president of National Tank Truck Carriers Inc. Harvison’s comments were contained in a letter sent to Julie Anna Cirillo, assistant administrator and chief safety officer at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
“We are especially concerned that the new background check procedures and fingerprint requirements for HM endorsements will have a negative impact on the current and future HM driver pool,” Harvison wrote in the letter. “We already have heard from safety directors who have drivers who will simply not renew their HM endorsements and will go drive for someone else. This is not because they fear what will be found in the HM checks; rather, it is because there are plenty of other driving jobs where they will not have to endure the ‘hassle and expense’ being required for this one class of drivers. There already is a shortage of qualified HM drivers because of the special demands of that profession. Also, because of the depressed rates in the tank truck industry, HM drivers are not compensated more than other drivers.
“If the concern is that CDL holders will use a truck to commit a terrorist act, then all drivers should be covered. As has been shown in the two truck-related terrorist acts in the United States--Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center--no CDL holder was involved and no special access to a vehicle laden with hazardous materials was required.”