The Hazmat endorsement allows for drivers to haul freight containing hazardous materials, defined as any substance or material that could adversely affect the safety of the public, handlers or carriers during transportation, and defined by the Department of Transportation as such.
Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or TWIC cards, are required by drivers that will require unescorted access to shipping ports and other sea or ocean facilities.
We would recommend drivers get both the Hazmat endorsement and TWIC card, if possible. Many companies will require it, and it will certainly keep more opportunities available for the future. Some companies will actually pay for or reimburse the cost of getting the Hazmat or TWIC.
For starters, having the Hazmat and TWIC will open up a great number of opportunities for drivers in terms of the company they work for and the routes they are allowed to run. Some trucking companies will require that drivers have them, or will get them, as a condition of hire.
The Hazmat endorsement is necessary for drivers who will be hauling loads containing DOT-classified hazardous materials, while the TWIC card will allow drivers to enter and travel port facilities unescorted.
The Hazmat endorsement will require that a driver pass a separate written test, just as any other CDL endorsement.
Both the Hazmat endorsement & TWIC card will require drivers to submit to a background check and fingerprinting through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), or, in some states, their state DMV.
The TSA does require additional, non-refundable fees as part of the TWIC and Hazmat application process. Some companies will reimburse the cost of getting them, or pay for it outright.
The TSA is responsible for the administration of security for all modes of transportation in the United States.
The TSA's stated mission is to "Protect the nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce."
The TSA has a specific list of things that may cause them to reject a drivers TWIC or Hazmat application.
The list of disqualifying offenses includes those will permanently bar an applicant, such as treason, espionage, and murder, and "Interim disqualifying criminal offenses", such as robbery, arson, or smuggling, that will require 5-7 years to have passed.
Applicants will also be disqualified if they are wanted under a warrant or under indictment for any of the listed crimes.
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