California laws cover HHG movers, construction and military truckers

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 9/27/2012

It is bill-signing and vetoing season in California, and trucking topics are among the issues finding out their fate from Gov. Jerry Brown. Three bills signed into law in recent days cover household goods movers, construction haulers and military truckers.

The first rule change prohibits household goods movers from being brokers. AB2118 also addresses unlicensed operators who use the Internet to lure customers.

A broker will be defined as “a person engaged for others” in setting up household goods hauls on behalf of shippers.

Also, HHG haulers with websites will be required to add a link directing visitors to the Public Utilities Commission website on moving companies, which promotes consumer rights and protection. Failure to abide by the rule could result in $2,500 fines.

The bill analysis notes that consumers hiring a household goods hauler that has not obtained a permit can be saddled with excessive charges, uninsured losses and other service problems.

“Carriers operating without a permit have an unfair cost advantage over permitted carriers because they maintain inadequate liability and workers’ compensation insurance, which is a substantial expense for lawful operators,” the analysis reads.

As a result, law-abiding carriers can lose out on business.

Another bill signed into law is supposed to simplify the commercial driver’s licensing process for military personnel. AB2659 authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to waive the driving skills test for certain truck drivers with military commercial motor vehicle experience.

To be eligible, applicants must be licensed with the U.S. Armed Forces for at least the prior two years. They must also be within 90 days of their discharge.

The change takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.

The effort is in response to a change in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations to allow states to waive the skills tests for applicants with a military commercial vehicle license. At least 15 states have adopted the rule.

Also effective the first of the year, one more new rule enables a weighmaster weighing construction loads, to use an unattended weighing system. Affected loads include dirt, stone, sand, gravel and ready mixed concrete.

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

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