Bill to Require Basic Safety Training for Truck Drivers Passes Key Senate Committee

April 04, 2017

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee passed Senate Bill (SB) 158 by Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel), which will improve road safety by implementing new federal commercial truck driving regulations, as well as adding additional truck driver safety requirements.  

“I want to thank my colleagues for their support of SB 158.  The bill will ensure that commercial truck and bus drivers are held to the highest safety standards,” Senator Monning said.  “Inadequately trained truck drivers cause preventable accidents.  This measure builds on the new federal regulations and establishes a minimum of behind-the-wheel training hours in order to ensure that commercial drivers have the necessary experience to drive safely.”

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. 

 “SB 158 will save lives,” said Mike Matousek, Director of State Legislative Affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).  “The new federal regulations that this bill would put into place here in California will improve driver training and highway safety, but we were disappointed the federal regulations did not include a minimum number of hours behind the wheel of a truck.  SB 158 addresses this oversight, and will increase safety for every driver in California.”

The bill will implement 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.  Additionally, SB 158 requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt regulations to comply with the federal rule by February 7, 2020 and 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.