South Dakota's share of road dollars depends on hazmat rule

| 1/25/2005

South Dakota could be forced to go without millions in federal highway dollars if state lawmakers opt against adopting new federal standards for commercial driver’s licenses.

House lawmakers approved a bill Monday, Jan. 24, that would add the standards to state law. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

The standards are in two federal laws, including the USA Patriot Act. Failure to comply carries the possibility of losing road money.

The first year of noncompliance would equate to a 5 percent cut, or $7 million, the Argus Leader reported. Subsequent penalties would be doubled.

If worse comes to worse, the federal government could take away South Dakota’s authority to issue CDLs.

The state Public Safety Department is sponsoring a bill – HB1061 – to make the needed changes in state law.

Federal law mandates a fingerprint-based background check on all truck drivers who haul hazardous materials. The cost of the check is estimated at just below $100.

The fee is made up of three parts: a fee for the collection of fingerprints and applicant information; a fee for threat assessment, during which the Transportation Security Administration decides whether the person is a security threat; and a fee for the FBI to run the fingerprints through its system.

Under the proposal, anyone seeking a CDL with an endorsement to haul hazardous materials after Jan. 30 would need such a background check. After May 31, anyone renewing or transferring a hazmat endorsement from one state to another would have to have a background check.