LOS ANGELES – Taxi, limousine and shuttle drivers will be required to pass a criminal background check before they can pick people up at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) under a program set to begin next month.
The effort covers up to 17,000 commercial vehicle drivers who must obtain a "ground transportation identification card" from the city's airport agency before they can use LAX's horseshoe-shaped roadway.
Airport police will enforce the measure by randomly asking drivers for their cards.
The Airport Commission unanimously approved the program Monday. Mayor James K. Hahn asked the airport last year to institute the program "to protect the public from terrorist attacks."
"After 9/11 we thought it was a prudent program to try to badge all commercial vehicle operators who are coming into the central terminal area, " said Michael DiGirolamo, a deputy executive director for the airport agency.
LAX is considered the state's No. 1 terrorist target. An Al Qaeda plot to explode several luggage bombs in terminals was foiled in December 1999.
Commercial vehicle drivers are the last major group working at LAX to be subject to criminal background checks. About 50,000 airport, airline and concession employees are required to pass these checks and obtain a badge before they can work at the airport.
Drivers will be required to provide airport officials with their fingerprints, which will be checked against state and federal criminal databases. They will be denied a card if any of 30 felonies, including arson, murder, bribery or burglary, shows up on their record.