California could soon lift ban on traffic school for truckers

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/23/2012

One vote from moving to the California governor’s desk is a bill to reverse a rule for truck drivers.

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

The Senate voted unanimously to advance a bill to change the rule. Specifically, commercial drivers would be allowed to attend traffic schools for minor violations occurring in their personal vehicles to help keep their driver status in good standing.

The bill – AB1888 – now heads back to the Assembly for approval of changes before it can move to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

Point penalties would not be included 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 being in violation of the “prohibition on masking violations.”

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, has said that traffic school option would benefit truck drivers who may get a traffic ticket in their personal vehicle.

“(The change) would keep them employable because they will be able to get rid of a point that they get while driving their personal vehicles,” Gatto previously told lawmakers.

Advocates for the rule change say that it makes sense. They say that violations in noncommercial vehicles should be treated the same way whether the driver has a CDL or personal license.

Gatto also noted in the bill analysis that the state’s economy would directly benefit from the change. He cited the work that truckers do to move commerce into and out of the state.

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