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TSA extends HME exemption for an additional 90 days

HME exemption valid through October 29th

Posted August 4, 2020

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is extending an exemption that gives commercial drivers with expired hazardous materials endorsements (HMEs) additional time to initiate the agency’s security threat assessment (STA). The exemption was due to expire on July 31, 2020; however, a recent TSA notice provides an additional 90 days for drivers to pursue the STA.

The agency’s decision to extend the exemption is based on the continued challenges faced by state drivers licensing centers due to public health emergency and the inability to predict how or where the virus may spread in the future. The extension will help ensure that drivers can continue to perform critical services during the pandemic.

Which drivers qualify for the exemption?

States may grant an extension of up to 180 days for a qualified individual whose HME expired or would otherwise expire between March 1, 2020, and October 29, 2020. For purposes of this exemption, an eligible individual is defined as someone who held a valid, unexpired HME with an STA (Determination of No Security Threat) on or after March 1, 2020, and the endorsement expired or is due to expire in the date range of the exemption.

If the state grants an extension, the individual with an expired HME must initiate the process of renewing his or her STA for an HME no later than 60 days before the end of the state-granted extension. TSA needs at least 60 days to process an individual’s application for STA renewal once it is submitted. Drivers with an HME should confirm state-specifics concerning any extensions.

TSA will continue to recurrently vet drivers with expired HMEs against federal terrorism and national security-related watch lists and databases during the period of the extensions and retain its full authority to immediately revoke or suspend an individual’s STA and to order a state to revoke an individual’s HME.

This article was written by Kathy Close of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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