Yesterday, Martin Rojas, Vice President of Safety & Operations for the American Trucking Associations (ATA) spoke to the US House of Representatives in Arlington, VA on the importance of the MODERN Security Credentials Act in consolidating multiple background checks, saving drivers time and money.
Rojas made reference to the Safe Truckers Act of 2009, which highlighted the need for multiple background checks to become consolidated, but the act was never put into law.
Now, a similar proposal, the MODERN Security Credentials Act, is awaiting approval and the ATA is not hesitating to show its support.
With over 3 million commercial drivers and around 800,000 hazmat shipments a day, Rojas notes, trucking is the number one means of transportation for hazardous materials. But are more drivers choosing to turn away from transporting hazardous freight due to the credential process? The answer is yes.
As Rojas stated, the number of drivers who underwent and passed the Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) screening program has decreased from 2.7 million drivers in 2004 to 1.5 million the following year. But this drastic decrease is not due to disqualifications, which only account for under 1% of those who took the program, but instead because of the inconvenience in obtaining the credential.
Time and cost are two main issues drivers consider. A driver often misses precious time they could utilize on the road to undergo fingerprinting, application, activation, and other processes for HME and Transportation Worker Identification credentials.
In addition to the loss of work, Rajas further explains, “the TWIC and HME screenings have so far cost commercial drivers nearly $180 million in fees alone.” This accounts for drivers often having to receive both their TWIC and HME credentials, paying separately for each one, sometimes up to $150 alone for their HME depending on the state.
But many drivers do not want to pay for several screenings, choosing not to receive their credential at all and with there being a driver shortage the way it is, many trucking companies are doing away with Hazmat service all together. Not Road Scholar however. We have hazmat certified drivers who have undergone the proper training and procedures, knowing the correct and safe way to handle your freight.
Rajas concludes that “If the MODERN Security Credentialing Act becomes law, it will establish an important precedent for consolidating multiple, costly screening programs into a single security threat assessment and credential with multiple applications for transportation workers. ATA believes this is a very important and achievable goal.”
Read Rajas’ full speech at http://www.truckline.com/AdvIssues/Security/Documents/050211%20Rojas%20testimony%20Homeland%20Security%20Committee%20Final.pdf and be sure to put your freight onboard a truck with the certified drivers at Road Scholar Transport.
What is your opinion on the MODERN Security Credentials Act?