Bill would streamline TWIC, hazmat checks for truckers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would cut down on redundant background checks for port and hazmat truck drivers.

The bill would require truckers licensed in the United States, Mexico, or Canada that transport security sensitive materials (SSMAT) stateside to obtain a transportation worker identification credential (TWIC) from the Transportation Security Administration.

Truckers and other workers at the nation’s ports are already required to do, but the rule would streamline the process for each state and eliminate the need for hazmat truckers to get a separate card.

Under current law, most operators who transport hazardous materials already must have a hazardous materials endorsement on their commercial driver’s license. With this bill, operators that have a hazmat endorsement would not have to submit to a background check to receive a TWIC. Most drivers who transport SSMAT already have a hazmat endorsement.

The bill "creates a sensible approach to performing criminal background checks for port and hazmat truck drivers, eliminating redundant checks and prohibiting states from requiring separate background checks for transportation security cards," noted the Teamsters union, which issued a statement supporting the bill. 

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