Friday, January 6, 2012

TWIC-HME Compatibility

A blog post yesterday by Laurie Thomas, a frequent reader of this blog and one of my go-to sources for MTSA information, on her MTSA News blog points out that the TSA is making some efforts to harmonize some of the various background checks that it is responsible for, in this case the Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) and the Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME) to be issued with State Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL).

Laurie points us at the ‘Latest News’ section of the TSA TWIC web site for the available information on this new program for Comparable HME’s.

(Oops… Did you know that the term ‘TWIC’ is a registered trademark? According to this web site it is, so we are in violation of trademark law unless we include the ‘®’ when we use the word ‘TWIC’. Too bad TSA, I don’t think anyone will follow this rule; you have wasted the time, effort and money. Failure to enforce trademark enfringement invalidates the registration)

I don’t get to this site often so I don’t know when this news item was posted (and TSA isn’t helpful in this regard, they don’t date entries the way the ISCD folks do over at the CFATS Knowledge Center do), but from the wording it looks like it was probably sometime last month. It says that this program will start in ‘January 2012’ and more information will be provided as the implementation date approaches.

Basically what TSA is doing is that it will use the existing TWIC background check data for the approval of an HME. This should reduce their time and cost. The cost savings will be passed on to the applicant in reduced fees; no information yet available on how much reduction there will be. Of course this requires a State to accept the Comparable HME check. The TSA site promises a list of the States that do accept it, but it’s not there yet.

It would seem to me, though, that there should be an even easier way to accomplish this. If an HME applicant (new or renewal) presents a TWIC at the State DMV office when they apply for an HME, all the DMV officials should have to do is to verify the TWIC is current and the identity matches and no TSA Security Threat Assessment (STA) fee should be required. Of course, the biometric identity verification can’t really be done until the TWIC Reader Rule is adopted in 2010 (oops, the NPRM hasn’t even been submitted to OMB yet).

Oh well, if and when this actually happens it will save drivers some money and hassle; that would be a good thing.

1 comment:

John C. W. Bennett said...


In the bowels of the FAQ, TSA indicates that people with a TWIC who apply for an HME will save $22.25 in those states accepting comparability. On the other hand, those with an HME who want a TWIC will save $27.25. No reason is given for the five buck difference.

Happy New Year,

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