Carolinas search truck records

| Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Carolinas truckdriver trainers and state testers are reviewing millions of records, looking for possible links between truckers and terrorism. The search started in the days following the Sept. 11 attacks, as federal officials assessed the potential for converting trucks into weapons of mass destruction.

The issue has garnered national attention since the FBI started checking student records earlier this month at a Colorado truckdriver training school, where 25-35 Arab men reportedly took the course. Trucking schools and third-party testers are of particular concern because anyone could learn how to drive a semi with no intention of getting a license or a driving job.

North Carolina has more than 200 third-party testers, including nine truckdriver schools, The Charlotte Observer reported. South Carolina has 167 third-party testers, 15 of them schools.

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles last month turned over a list to the FBI of all commercial drivers licensed to carry hazardous materials. The state has about 300,000 licensed truckers, 76,000 of them with hazmat authorization.

The FBI hasn't asked the South Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles for a list of truckers with hazmat licenses, according to the newspaper. The state has more than 130,000 CDL holders.

South Carolina asked all its third-party testers to review records since 1999, looking for links to more than 30 countries with ties to terrorism. The FBI also asked testers to check potential students and employees more closely.

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