A bill recently introduced in California’s legislature would require truckers driving on California roads to complete a training course before obtaining a Commercial Driver License (CDL). Its goal is to prevent some of the many accidents truckers cause with other motorists—often with fatal results.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 235 people were killed and 5,092 injured in trucker crashes in California in 2012. The problem is so bad that even the California Trucking Association recognizes the problem and supports passage of the bill.
Key Provisions of the Proposed Legislation
This law was proposed after a trucker accident on July 10, 2014, where a 24-year-old man was killed. The trucker—with only three months’ experience—was carrying a truckload of dirt when his brakes malfunctioned on Highway 17 near the Lexington Reserve in Los Gatos. He tried to swerve into a guardrail but lost control of his truck, causing a 10-vehicle crash.
Under current California law, a trucker only needs to pass a written and driving test to obtain a CDL. The proposed law would add the following additional requirements:
- Require trucker education. New truckers would be required to take a five-month course from a commercial driving institution approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Regulate commercial driving education institutions. Most classes cost up to $3,000. The law proposes that schools offering these classes for under $2,500 be regulated by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education to prevent “diploma mills.”
While this law, if enacted, will help make California roads safer, there will still be dangers caused by commercial truck drivers, such as driving while fatigued or distracted and driving with unsafe rigs and equipment.