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Federal Law Changes Licensing Process for Drivers Transporting Hazardous Materials

February 1, 2005

HARRISBURG, PA — The USA PATRIOT Act makes sweeping changes to its process for licensing individuals who apply for an initial Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) endorsement on their Commercial Driver's License (CDL) or renew a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement. The new federal requirements, which also include additional federal fees totaling $58, went into effect on Jan. 31 for CDL drivers who are applying for an initial HAZMAT endorsement. The same federal requirements and fees go into effect on May 31 for drivers who are renewing a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement. The changes are required under the Uniting & Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act. The new federal guidelines will require individuals to provide proof of U.S. citizenship or proof of appropriate immigration status, submit a Federal Security Threat Assessment application, pay additional federal fees totaling $58, which includes $34 for a federal criminal history background check and a $24 FBI fingerprint fee, and successfully complete a federal criminal history background check. Customers will be required to complete this process each time a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement is issued or renewed. Currently, the process for obtaining or renewing a CDL with a HAZMAT endorsement involves submitting an application, paying state licensing fees and passing a HAZMAT knowledge test. The driver will not receive the HAZMAT endorsement until a state receives notification from the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that the driver has passed the criminal history background check, which could take several weeks.
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