California bill would reinstate traffic school option for off-duty truck drivers

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, April 26, 2012

A California Assembly panel has voted in favor of a bill to reverse a rule for truck drivers.

California law now prohibits professional drivers from attending traffic school to remove traffic violations occurring in their personal vehicles from their records. The eight-year-old law was adopted to comply with federal rules.

The Assembly Transportation Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill that would allow commercial drivers to attend traffic schools to help keep their driver status in good standing.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, the bill would not carry a point penalty for affected violations. However, insurance companies would continue to be notified of the violations.

In response, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicated in a letter submitted by supporters that the state may “hold the point count for violations that carry points under California vehicle and traffic law” without running afoul of the “prohibition on masking violations.”

Gatto said that traffic school provides a valuable opportunity for drivers to relearn some of the current transportation laws of the state. In particular, it would benefit truck drivers.

“It would keep them employable because they will be able to get rid of a point that they get while driving their personal vehicles,” Gatto told committee members.

Assembly Transportation Committee Chairwoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, said it makes sense to change the rule.

“I can see the rationale for treating violations in noncommercial vehicles in the same manner whether the driver has a commercial license or a standard Class C license,” Lowenthal said.

The bill – AB1888 – awaits further consideration on the Assembly floor.

To view other legislative activities of interest for California, click here.

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