National Tank Truck Carriers President Clifford Harvison has asked that background checks be required in all commercial driver’s license applications and renewals, not just those involving hazmat endorsements.
In an April 3 letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Harvison said that new background check procedures and fingerprinting requirements, now being developed by FMCSA in accordance with the USA Patriot Act, will have a negative impact on the current and future hazmat driver pool.
“We already have heard from safety directors who have drivers who will simply not renew their [hazmat] endorsements and will go drive for someone else,” said Harvison. “This is not because they fear what will be found in the background 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.”
Clifford said the special demands of hazmat hauling have already led to a shortage of qualified drivers, and that depressed rates in the tank truck industry have kept hazmat hauler pay at the same level as other drivers.