SPECIAL REPORT: Hazmat background checks have begun

| 1/31/2005

Starting Jan. 31, CDL holders seeking a hazmat endorsement for the first time must undergo a fingerprint-based background check.

Most of the states - 33 states plus the District of Columbia - will have the fingerprints and accompanying information gathered by Integrated Biometric Technologies, a private company chosen by the Transportation Security Administration, a part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Those 33 states are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The other 17 states have chosen to undertake the task themselves. TSA, in a news release issued Jan. 31, said those states would conduct the collection of prints and information "using state resources." However, some of those states are using separate private contractors.

The states not using Integrated Biometric Technologies are: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Applicants should call the state-level agency that handles CDLs or hazmat endorsements in their states to find out where and how to submit fingerprints, O'Sullivan said.

In most states, the checks will cost drivers $94. That fee is made up of three parts:

  • Collection - $38;
  • Threat assessment - $34; and
  • FBI fingerprint check - $22.

However, in states that do not use Integrated Biometric Technologies, the collection fee can run higher. The amount could be different in each of the 17 states that are not using the TSA-approved contractor.

Drivers who are renewing their hazardous materials endorsements and those who are transferring the endorsements from one state to another do not have to undergo a fingerprint-based background check until May 31.