Patriot Act Troublesome for Some Fuel Company Fleets
MONTPELIER, VT – A requirement of the USA Patriot Act, created to keep trucks loaded with hazardous cargo safe from terrorists, now requires commercial drivers to undergo fingerprint-based criminal history records checks when applying for, renewing, or transferring the hazardous materials endorsements they need to haul cargo such as gasoline, propane, and home heating fuel. The mandate is troublesome for some Vermont fuel dealers, according to the Barre Times.According to the Vermont Fuel Dealers’ Association many dealers have waited longer than anticipated to obtain clearances to put qualified drivers on the road. The association said that it can take six to eight weeks for fingerprints to travel from the Vermont Criminal Information Center in Waterbury to Washington, D.C., where they are inspected by officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Transportation Security Administration before the results are e-mailed back to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles.Since the change went into effect last February, 296 applications from Vermont truck drivers have been reviewed and approved, none have been rejected, and 48 are still being processed, according to the Barre Times. Although fuel dealers around the country must comply with the requirement, the association said it is having a more pronounced effect in states like Vermont where companies hire a large number of seasonal drivers.