One of your best employees is convicted of a felony. Do you know if he can receive a hazmat endorsement on his commercial driver's license (CDL)? Well, it depends on what the felony was and when the felony was committed.
The hazmat regulations at 49 CFR 177.804 state that motor carriers must comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations at 49 CFR 383 and 390 through most of 397, when applicable. The rules for obtaining a CDL are found at 49 CFR 383. The regulations require drivers to have hazmat endorsements if they are transporting placardable shipments of hazardous materials [49 CFR 383.93(b)(4)].
On May 5, 2003, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented a requirement for background checks for hazmat drivers and prohibiting drivers deemed to pose a security threat from transporting hazardous materials cargo. On the same day, FMCSA also issued an interim final rule requiring federal background checks for CDLs with a hazardous materials endorsement.
The rules for obtaining a CDL require that individuals seeking to obtain a hazmat endorsement comply with TSA requirements codified in 49 CFR Part 1572, Credentialing and Background Checks for Land Transportation Security [49 CFR 283.71(a)(9)]. One component of the background check is to determine whether the applicant has a "disqualifying criminal offense" that would prevent him or her from receiving a hazmat endorsement. Disqualifying criminal offenses can be either "permanent" or "interim" in nature, and are listed at 49 CFR 1572.103.
An applicant is considered to have a permanent disqualifying offense if he or she has been convicted of or found not guilty by reason of insanity in a civilian or military jurisdiction for any of the crimes listed at 49 CFR 1572.103(a). Examples of permanent disqualifying offenses would include treason, sedition, murder, crimes involving transportation security incidents, and unlawful possession of explosive devices.
An applicant is considered to have an interim disqualifying offense if he or she has been convicted of or found not guilty by reason of insanity in a civilian or military jurisdiction for any of the crimes listed at 49 CFR 1572.103(b) within the 7 years preceding the date of application or the applicant was released from incarceration for the crime within the 5 years preceding the date of application. Examples of interim disqualifying offensives (which prevent the applicant from receiving an endorsement if they occurred up to 7 years before the application) include identity fraud, bribery, immigration violations, robbery, and distribution of a controlled substance.