SPECIAL REPORT: Hazmat background checks: Oregon will use third party contractor

| 12/23/2004

Oregon Department of Transportation announced Dec. 22 that drivers applying for a hazmat endorsement will be subject to background checks to be conducted by a company under contract with the Transportation Security Administration.

The company, Integrated Biometric Technologies, is a major provider of electronic fingerprinting technology for applicant fingerprint submissions and background checks. The company's proprietary software was written by its teaming partner Lockheed Martin, a technology leader in computer-based fingerprinting.

Under USA Patriot Act regulations, all CDL holders must submit their fingerprints and obtain a security clearance from the TSA before they can be issued a new or renewed CDL with an endorsement for hauling hazardous materials. Starting Jan. 31, 2005, Oregon's DMV will not be able to issue the endorsement to drivers who do not yet have a current CDL and hazmat endorsement, until the application passes the new background check. Drivers who apply for the first time on or after Jan. 31 may be required to wait 60 to 90 days for completion of the security check. It is not known how long it will take for the checks and clearances through TSA.

Starting May 31, 2005, all CDL holders who have hazmat endorsements will be required to get background checks prior to renewing or transferring a hazmat endorsement. Oregon will not start accepting fingerprints for background checks on renewals and transfers from other states until this date as well.

The Oregon DMV will issue renewal notices to endorsement holders 180 days prior to the expiration date. Current licensees can renew their CDLs and endorsement up to 13 months before the expiration date.

In Oregon, IBT will gather the necessary information from applicants, collect fingerprints and charge the established fees. Costs have not yet been announced.

Integrated Biometric Technologies' Web site states both IBT's hardware and software meet the FBI's specifications as to image quality, compression and file transfer protocol.

Other clients of the company include the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command; Florida Departments of Education and Insurance; U.S. Virgin Islands Airports; Assessment Systems, Inc., National Test Centers; JPMorgan/Chase Manhattan Bank; New York Clearing House, Barclays Global Investors; CitiGroup; FleetBoston National Bank; State Street Bank' HSBC Bank; West Virginia Department of Education; and the West Virginia State Police.