Senate Transportation Committee has scheduled a hearing for July
1 on a bill that would require trucks based in the state to carry
a device enabling police or carriers to stop the vehicles in traffic.
to Howard Posner, a consultant for the Transportation Committee,
AB575 is designed to keep certain hazardous materials out of the
hands of terrorists. The measure passed the Assembly 67-7 on June
of the measure is down to the wire. Policy committees in California
must report out all bills by July 11. Since the Transportation
Committee meets every other Tuesday, its only July dates are the
1st and 15th.
The second date is past the deadline, but the committee might
request an extension.
If the bill
receives approval from the Senate committee, it would head to
the full Senate for a vote. That could occur anytime before the
end of the session in September.
proposal has raised concerns among some in the trucking industry.
Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent
Drivers Association, said “If you wanted to provide a blueprint
for destruction to terrorists, this would be the way you would
suggest state officials go back to the drawing board,” Spencer
added. “This idea didn’t pass the laugh test when it was floated
officials had considered significant changes in the bill, but
Posner said that did not happen.
that some more thought and decided, at least for the moment, to
leave it as is,” Posner said. “There was talk of scaling it back
so it only applied to gasoline tanker trucks in certain locations,
but we decided that in order to maximize the benefit, we ought
to have this being used essentially as outlined in the bill.”
text of AB575 covers trucks carrying poison or toxic gas;
flammable and combustible liquid; poison or toxic material; infectious
substances; or radioactive material.
still requires every truck covered to have some kind of disconnect
device – an external mechanism that could be activated by either
law officers or the carrier that would either activate the brakes
or cut off the fuel to the engine. However, the bill now leaves
the type of technology that would be used to stop trucks up to
the California Highway Patrol, rather than specifying technologies
in the legislation.
“I was at
a meeting over at the Highway Patrol about a week ago, and they’re
going to be testing all sorts of different technologies,” Posner
said. “We decided whatever works; we don’t want to preclude any
emerging technologies from being used.”
officials indicated those devices could include one that attaches
to the rear bumper of a truck that would be activated by a police
car tapping the trucks rear bumper. Another would require law
officers to carry a laser device that would “tag” a receiver on
the truck, deactivating the vehicle’s fuel supply.
Patrol conducted tests of the bumper-tapping device earlier. A
video of that test is available on the Patrol’s Web site at http://www.chp.ca.gov/html/truckstoppingdevice.html.
requires each truck have a GPS tracking device that would allow
the carrier to locate the truck’s at any time.
Mark H. Reddig, associate editor
Reddig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.