Bill Mandating Truck Driver Training in CA Stalled


Bill Mandating Truck Driver Training in CA Stalled

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno truck accident attorney. A California state bill that sought to make the roads safer by ensuring that commercial truck drivers undergo training to be certified to drive big rigs was blocked by a finance committee. This was a disappointment to the Santa Cruz family whose son was killed after being struck by a truck driver who lacked the necessary training.

The Details of the Accident

The accident that was the nidus of SB 158 happened in July 2014 when a driver of a large hauler went out of control on Highway 17 in the area of Lexington Reservoir. The truck hit Daniel McGuire, 25, killing him as he was waiting in traffic in his vehicle. The big rig driver, who had been licensed to drive commercial vehicles for only three months, hit 10 other motor vehicles and seven other people were injured. After their son’s death, McGuire’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit that was settled for $9.5 million.

The case cited negligent and wrongful hiring practices as well as lack of supervision and adequate training by several trucking companies. The message that truck drivers need greater training for hauling cargo on mountainous roads like Highway 17 was clear. The family asked that inexperienced drivers be given routes that reflected their level of training while more experienced drivers would take the treacherous mountain roads in the area. Despite the loss this year, the family and the bill’s sponsor pledge to continue fighting.

How Would SB 158 Mandate Training Rules?

According to the bill’s sponsor, Bill Monning, in order to receive a Class A license, his bill would mandate the driver go through training of 30 hours. A Class B commercial license would require 15 hours.

What Happened to SB 158

The bill was stopped in the Assembly Appropriations Committee due to fiscal concerns. Monning said there was worry that the Division of Motor Vehicles in California might have lost certification by the federal government if the bill had passed.

Truck Driver Training in California

Formal training is not required for those who are applying for licensing as a truck driver in California. The legal age to apply for a license is 18; however, for a license to transport hazardous materials, the driver has to be 21 years of age. A Class A license is required for those who intend to drive tractor-trailers, tankers or combos that may include double or triple trailers. The Class A license is for vehicles that weigh at least 26,001 pounds, including a trailer that weighs at least 5 tons. Drivers who apply for licensing must have a medical report signed by a physician and pass the road test and written exam.

For What Offenses Can a Truck Driver Lose His/Her License?

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, a truck driver can lose his/her license for a minimum of one year for the following offenses if these offenses are committed while driving a big rig. The following penalties are for a first offense. Further offenses hold more severe penalties.

  • Driving with a BAC level of 0.04 or higher
  • Driving while using a controlled substance
  • Refusing to have the BAC level tested
  • Leaving an accident scene
  • Committing a felony
  • Driving with a revoked or suspended license
  • Committing an act of negligence resulting in a fatality
  • Any detectable amount of alcohol results in a 24-hour suspension

Related Links by Fresno Truck Accident Attorney, Ed Smith:

Fresno Truck Accident Attorneys

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno truck accident attorney. An accident with a tractor-trailer or other type of big rig can have devastating consequences. If you or a member of your family has been injured by the negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company, please call (559) 377-7676 or (800) 404-5400. I am here to offer you my friendly advice free of charge.

I have been helping Californians with their traumatic injury cases and wrongful death claims as an injury lawyer for 35 years. You owe nothing until you win your case.

You can read some of the reviews and comments by former clients and peers about my practice on Google Plus, Avvo and Yelp.

I am a California member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, which is an association of trial attorneys whose verdicts and settlements are in excess of $1 million.

You can find some of my previous cases on my Verdicts and Settlements page. It will show you how I resolved my client’s cases presented there.

I own and founded This website is dedicated to providing information to residents of Northern California about personal injury law.

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