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AB-301 Commercial motor vehicles: examination requirements: driving skills test.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/19/2017 09:00 PM
AB301:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 19, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 28, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 21, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 301


Introduced by Assembly Members Rodriguez and Patterson
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry, Bigelow, Bocanegra, Cooper, Fong, Lackey, and O'Donnell)
(Coauthors: Senators Cannella, Mendoza, and Nielsen)

February 06, 2017


An act to add Section 12804.16 15250.2 to the Vehicle Code, relating to driver’s licenses. vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 301, as amended, Rodriguez. Driver’s license: examination requirements: certificate of driving skill. Commercial motor vehicles: examination requirements: driving skills test.
Existing law prohibits a person from operating a commercial motor vehicle unless the person has passed a written and driving test for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle that complies with specified federal standards and any other requirements imposed by the Vehicle Code. Existing law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to implement these provisions, as specified.
This bill would require the Department of Motor Vehicles, by June 1, 2019, to ensure that the maximum wait time to obtain an appointment to take the driving skills test to operate a commercial motor vehicle does not exceed 7 days. The bill would require the department, by June 1, 2018, to submit a report to the budget and transportation committees of the Legislature detailing how the department intends to achieve the 7-day maximum wait time. The bill would require the report to include, among other components, the methodology the department intends to use to collect and monitor wait times, and an implementation timeline for the department’s recommendations.

Under existing law, an applicant for a driver’s license is required to submit to an examination appropriate to the type of motor vehicle or combination of vehicles the applicant desires to drive. The examination includes, among other things, a test of the applicant’s knowledge and understanding of the law governing the operation of vehicles upon the highways, and, with specified exceptions, an actual demonstration of the applicant’s ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in operating a motor vehicle by driving it under the supervision of an examining officer. Existing law prohibits a person from operating a commercial motor vehicle unless that person has in his or her immediate possession a valid commercial driver’s license of the appropriate class, and requires an applicant to pass a written and driving test for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle that complies with specified minimum federal standards and meets other prescribed requirements. Existing law authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to allow a 3rd-party tester to administer the driving test part of the examination if certain conditions are met. Existing law specifically authorizes the department to accept a certificate of driving skill issued by an applicant’s employer that is authorized by the department to issue a certificate under those provisions, in lieu of a driving test, on class A or B applications.

This bill would require the department, by July 1, 2018, to accept a certificate of driving skill issued by entities, including, but not limited to, a licensed truck driving school, an accredited public or private postsecondary institution, and a municipality, of which an applicant is a member, student, client, or resident, as appropriate, in lieu of a driving test, on class A or B applications, if the applicant has first qualified for a class C license and has met the other examination requirements for the license for which he or she is applying. The bill would require the department to adopt emergency regulations to implement the bill’s provisions, as specified. The bill would also require the department to submit a report to the Legislature on or before January 1, 2023, comparing the relative safety of drivers who obtained their class A or B endorsement using a 3rd-party tester as compared to drivers who obtained their class A or B endorsement by taking a driving test administered by the department.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares as follows:
(a)  The expedited and efficient movement of goods and the availability of public transit are critical to the vitality of California’s economy.
(b) The United States is facing a national truck driver shortage of 38,000 drivers. Anticipated economic growth and an aging driver population will require the trucking industry to fill a net average of 89,000 driver positions per year through 2025 to meet the demand.
(c)  A rapid increase in demand for commercial driver’s licenses combined with increased safety standards mandated by the federal government have put a strain on the resources of the Department of Motor Vehicles, causing significant delays in the availability of driving skills test appointments.
(d)  In December 2016, the Department of Motor Vehicles reported wait times for a driving skills test ranging from one to 65 business days. During the same reporting period, 11 of the state’s 23 locations that provide driving skills tests had wait times in excess of 30 business days.
(e)  Unnecessary delays to obtain a driving skills test appointment create hardships for prospective drivers who cannot gain employment without a valid driver’s license.
(f) Section 5506 of the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; Public Law 114-94) requires the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to report to Congress the status of state driving skills testing for applicants for a commercial driver’s license, and describes specific steps that can be taken to address delays in driving skills testing in states with average skills test or retest wait times of more than seven days from the date the applicant requests to test or retest to the date the applicant has the opportunity to complete the test or retest.
(g)  It is, therefore, consistent with the intent of the federal FAST Act to explore all options to reduce the backlog in commercial driver’s license skills testing and meet future employment demand.

SEC. 2.

 Section 15250.2 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

15250.2.
 (a) By June 1, 2019, the department shall ensure that the maximum wait time to obtain an appointment to take the driving skills test, as required by Section 15250, in any particular field office shall not exceed seven days.
(b) By June 1, 2018, the department shall submit to the budget and transportation committees of the Senate and the Assembly a report detailing how the department intends to achieve the seven-day maximum wait time described in subdivision (a). The report shall include, but need not be limited to, all of the following:
(1) The number of skills test examiners available to test applicants and the number of additional skills test examiners needed to achieve the stated goal, and the estimated costs.
(2) The number and locations of current sites that offer driving skills tests and the number and proposed locations of additional department and commercial testing center locations needed to achieve the stated goal, and the estimated costs.
(3) Internal efficiency improvements that can be made within the department to reduce wait times.
(4)  Any and all other innovative strategies to reduce wait times and ensure compliance with the seven-day timeframe.
(5) The methodology the department intends to use to collect and monitor wait times.
(6)  A timeline for implementation of the department’s recommendations.
(c) The requirement for submitting a report imposed under subdivision (b) is inoperative on June 1, 2022, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.

SECTION 1.Section 12804.16 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
12804.16.

(a)(1) By July, 1, 2018, the department shall accept a certificate of driving skill issued by an entity listed in paragraph (2) that meets the requirements of subdivision (c) of Section 15250, of which an applicant is a member, student, client, or resident, as appropriate, in lieu of a driving test, on a class A or B application, if the applicant has first qualified for a class C license and has met the other examination requirements for the license for which he or she is applying. The certificate may be submitted to the department as evidence of the applicant’s skill in the operation of the types of equipment covered by the license for which he or she is applying.

(2)This subdivision applies to the following categories of institutions:

(A)A commercial motor vehicle training institution licensed by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.

(B)An independent testing center.

(C)A union.

(D)A municipality.

(E)An accredited public or private postsecondary institution.

(F)Any similar entity approved by the department.

(b)The department shall adopt regulations to implement this section. The adoption, amendment, repeal, or readoption of a regulation authorized by this section is deemed to address an emergency, for purposes of Sections 11346.1 and 11349.6 of the Government Code, and the department is hereby exempted for this purpose from the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 11346.1 of the Government Code.

(c)(1)The Department of Motor Vehicles shall submit a report to the Legislature on or before January 1, 2023, comparing the relative safety of drivers who have obtained their class A or B endorsement pursuant to this section as compared to drivers who have obtained their class A or B endorsement by taking a driving test administered by the department.

(2)A report submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(3)The requirement that a report be submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be inoperative on January 1, 2025, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.