Bill to Require Basic Safety Training for Truck Driver Passes Off the Senate Floor

May 01, 2017

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

“This is a major step forward for the safety of all those who share the roads with commercial trucks in the state,” Senator Monning said.  “Commercial drivers who lack adequate training put everyone on the road at risk.  SB 158 will ensure that drivers of big rigs and other large commercial vehicles have the necessary experience to drive safely by establishing a minimum of behind-the-wheel training hours.  These stronger training standards will prevent accidents and save lives.”

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 is an important measure that will help prevent the type of horrible tragedies that families like the McGuire’s were forced to experience,” said Jennifer Walsh, Legislative Director of the Truck Safety Coalition. “This is a common sense measure that will protect everyone on the road. We know of far too many fatal car crashes due to the negligence of unprepared commercial truck drivers, and it is time the State starts requiring those drivers to have more on the road experience.”

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.

SB 158 now moves to the Assembly.


Contact: Elizabeth Stitt (916) 651-4017