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TSA Background Check

Last Updated: Nov 12, 2015

What New Drivers Need To Know About Criminal Background Checks:

CDL drivers will be required to submit to a criminal background check in order to get their Hazmat endorsement or TWIC cards.

Background checks will be administered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The drivers criminal history, as well as wanted or warrant status, and terrorist watch list status, will be checked.

There are two levels of offenses that can disqualify a driver from getting a Hazmat endorsement or TWIC.

Higher level 'A' offenses will permanently disqualify a driver, while lower level 'B' offenses disqualify a driver temporarily.

Part A: What Can Permanently Disqualify A Driver From Getting A TWIC Card or Hazmat Endorsement?

See Also: TSA Background Check Disqualifying Factors

Reasons or criminal offenses that the TSA may use to permanently disqualify a truck driver from getting a TWIC card include: From the TSA document: "An applicant will be disqualified if he or she was convicted, pled guilty (including ‘no contest’), or found not guilty by reason of insanity for any of the following felonies regardless of when they occurred:"

  • Espionage or conspiracy to commit espionage.
  • Sedition or conspiracy to commit sedition. Sedition, by definition, is: "the crime of saying, writing, or doing something that encourages people to disobey their government"
  • Treason or conspiracy to commit treason.
  • A federal crime of terrorism, or conspiracy to commit such crime.
  • A crime involving a TSI (transportation security incident). Defined by the TSA as: "A transportation security incident is a security incident resulting in a significant loss of life, environmental damage, transportation system disruption, or economic disruption in a particular area, as defined in 46 U.S.C. 70101. The term “economic disruption” does not include a work stoppage or other employee-related action not related to terrorism and resulting from an employer-employee dispute."
  • Improper transportation of a hazardous material under 49 U.S.C. 5124 or a comparable state law. 5124 generally sets penalties for violating regulations prohibiting tampering, altering, removing, or destroying markings, labels, packaging, etc. of a hazmat load.
  • Making false bomb threats.
  • Murder.
  • Unlawful possession, use, sale, distribution, manufacture, purchase, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, import, export, storage of, or dealing in an explosive or explosive device.
  • Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or a comparable State law, where one of the acts found by a jury or admitted by the defendant, consists of one of the permanently disqualifying crimes.
  • Attempting to commit any of the above crimes.

Part B: What Can Temporarily Disqualify A Driver From Getting A TWIC Card or Hazmat Endorsement?

Convictions for any of the following is disqualifying if the applicant was convicted, pled guilty (including 'no contest'), or found not guilty by reason of insanity within the past 7 years, OR if the applicant was released from prison after conviction within the last 5 years:

  • Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture, purchase, distribution, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, delivery, import, export of, or dealing in a firearm or other weapon.
  • Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation, including identity fraud and money laundering, where the money laundering is related to a crime (except welfare fraud and passing bad checks).
  • Extortion.
  • Bribery.
  • Smuggling.
  • Immigration violations.
  • Distribution, possession w/ intent to distribute, or importation of a controlled substance.
  • Fraudulent entry into a seaport as described in 18 U.S.C. 1036, or a comparable State law.
  • Kidnapping or hostage taking.
  • Rape or aggravated sexual abuse.
  • Assault with intent to kill.
  • Robbery.
  • Arson.
  • Voluntary Manslaughter.
  • Conspiracy or attempt to commit crimes in this section
  • Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), or a comparable State law, other than any permanently disqualifying offenses.

Part C: Applicants Under Want, Warrant, or Indictment:

A person will be disqualified if he or she is wanted or under indictment in any civilian or military jurisdiction for a felony listed under Part A or Part B until the want or warrant is released or the indictment is dismissed.


Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.


Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations


Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.


Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

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