Gov. Bob Riley has signed a bill into law that is intended
to help ensure that Alabama is in compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety
The new law, previously HB824, prohibits deferred
prosecution or deferred judgments in traffic cases involving commercial
drivers. It also prohibits commercial drivers convicted of a traffic offense,
even if it occurred in a personal vehicle, from being eligible to keep their
driving record clean by completing a driver safety course.
According to the legislative analysis on the bill,
compliance with the regulation puts the state in line to receive $30.6 million
annually in federal highway dollars.
The Alabama House approved the bill on a 67-26 vote. The
Senate unanimously approved it.
The new rule could lead to commercial drivers with one
moving traffic violation having their licenses suspended. Alabama law
previously required two moving violations to be committed before possible
Sen. Pat Lindsey, D-Butler, voted for the bill in part to
secure federal highway funding for the state. However, he was not happy about
the ramifications it could have on truck drivers.
“He loses his license to drive his own truck, then what’s he
going to do? With the cost of fuel now, they’re barely breaking even. So, now
he’s got to go hire a driver or get his truck repossessed. It’s just bad
legislation,” Lindsey told WSFA-TV in Montgomery.
The new rule takes effect this summer.