California to offer traffic school, simplify proof of insurance

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 12/27/2012

Two new laws in California slated to take effect next week reverse a rule for truck drivers and simplify providing proof of vehicle insurance.

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.

Starting Tuesday, Jan. 1, the rule will change to allow commercial drivers to attend traffic schools for minor violations occurring in their personal vehicles. The change is intended to help them keep their driver status in good standing.

In addition, point penalties will no longer be included for affected violations. However, insurance companies would continue to be notified of the violations.

To address concerns about truck rules, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration previously indicated in a letter submitted by advocates 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.”

Advocates said the traffic school option would benefit truck drivers who may get a traffic ticket in their personal vehicle.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, indicated that “(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.”

Others note that the rule change makes sense. They said that violations in noncommercial vehicles should be treated the same way whether the driver has a CDL or personal license.

Another rule change in effect as of Tuesday gives drivers the option to present their proof of vehicle insurance by smartphone, or other mobile device.

“This legislation falls into the category of making people’s lives easier by embracing technology in order to eliminate one of life’s small hassles, and it brings laws dealing with possessing and presenting proof of auto insurance into the electronic age,” Gatto said in a release.

Arizona and Idaho are other states where the electronic version of this insurance document is equivalent to the paper form.

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

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