Senator Monning Introduces Bill to Strengthen New Federal Requirements for Truck Drivers

January 19, 2017

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) introduced Senate Bill (SB) 158, a measure that will improve road safety by implementing new federal commercial truck driving regulations, as well as adding additional truck driver safety requirements.  

“We must ensure that commercial truck and bus drivers are being held to the highest safety standards,” Senator Monning said.  “SB 158 builds on the new federal regulations and establishes a minimum of behind-the-wheel training hours to ensure that commercial drivers have the necessary experience to drive safely on our highways and roads, and prevent accidents caused by inadequately trained truck drivers.”

In 2014, a truck driver on Highway 17 lost control and crashed into 10 cars, injuring seven and killing 25-year-old Daniel McGuire of Santa Cruz.  The truck driver’s lack of adequate training and experience was deemed a major factor in the crash.  In that same year, there were 10,062 at-fault commercial vehicle collisions reported in California, of which 2,432 resulted in injury and 68 were fatal. 

“This July will mark three years since we lost our son, Daniel, to a preventable crash caused by an inexperienced truck driver,” Gail-Jean and Doug McGuire said. “We do not want to see other families suffer the same preventable tragedy of losing a loved one to a trucking crash caused by an inexperienced driver. Standardizing behind-the-wheel training for truck and bus drivers is not only sensible, it’s going to save lives.”

SB 158 implements a federal rule that requires those seeking a commercial driver’s license (CDL) complete a certified course of instruction from a commercial driving institution or program offered by an employer before being issued a CDL.

Specifically, SB 158 requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt regulations to comply with the federal rule by February 7, 2020.  It also establishes minimum behind-the-wheel training requirements to be completed as part of CDL training.

•             Class A License – 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training, of which 10 hours must be at an off-highway facility and 10 hours must be on public roads.

•             Class B License – 15 hours of behind-the-wheel, of which 7 hours must be on public roads.