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AB-2141 Department of Motor Vehicles.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 09/10/2020 09:00 PM
AB2141:v96#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 2141
CHAPTER 47

An act to amend Sections 1651.3 and 15250 of the Vehicle Code, relating to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

[ Approved by Governor  September 09, 2020. Filed with Secretary of State  September 09, 2020. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2141, Mathis. Department of Motor Vehicles.
Existing law expresses the policy of the state to recognize the training and experience that individuals gain while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States and requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to develop policies to assist persons who are leaving active duty to obtain commercial driver’s licenses, as specified. Existing law prohibits those policies from waiving any requisites, fees, or examinations required by law for a commercial driver’s license.
This bill would remove the requirement that the policies not waive any fees.
Existing federal regulations require a person to pass a knowledge and driving skills test before being issued a commercial driver’s license. Existing federal regulations allow the knowledge test to be administered in a written, verbal, or automated format. Existing federal regulations authorize a state to waive the knowledge test and waive the driving skills test, as specified, for current or former members of the United States Armed Forces who meet certain specified requirements related to their experience operating a commercial vehicle in the Armed Forces.
Existing federal regulations also require a person to pass a specialized knowledge test for a hazardous materials endorsement on a commercial driver’s license or a tank vehicle endorsement on a commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit. Existing federal regulations require a person to pass a specialized knowledge test and a skills test for a passenger endorsement on a commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit. Existing federal regulations authorize a state to waive these tests, as specified, for current or former members of the United States Armed Forces who meet certain specified requirements related to their experience operating a commercial vehicle in the Armed Forces.
Existing state law requires a person to pass a written test and driving skills test before being issued a commercial driver’s license. Existing state law authorizes a waiver of the driving skills test for current or former members of the United States Armed Forces who meet certain specified requirements related to their experience operating a commercial vehicle in the Armed Forces.
This bill would bring state law into alignment with current federal regulations by requiring a person to pass a knowledge test instead of a written test before being issued a commercial driver’s license, by authorizing a waiver of both the knowledge test and the driving skills test for current or former members of the United States Armed Forces who meet certain specified requirements related to their experience operating a commercial vehicle in the Armed Forces, and to waive the testing requirements, as specified, for a hazardous materials, tank vehicle, or passenger endorsement for current or former members of the United States Armed Forces who meet certain specified requirements related to their experience operating a commercial vehicle in the Armed Forces.
The bill would make other nonsubstantive conforming changes.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 1651.3 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

1651.3.
 It is the policy of this state to recognize the training and experience that individuals gain while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. In furtherance of this policy, the department, in conjunction with the military services of the United States, shall develop policies to assist persons who are leaving active duty to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. These policies shall not waive any requisites or examinations required by law for a commercial driver’s license. Except as otherwise authorized, these policies shall specify how this training and experience may be used to obtain these licenses. The department shall consult with the Department of Veterans Affairs before adopting these policies. The department shall perform the duties required by this section within existing budgetary resources of the agency within which the department operates.

SEC. 2.

 Section 15250 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

15250.
 (a) (1) A person shall not operate a commercial motor vehicle unless that person has in their immediate possession a valid commercial driver’s license of the appropriate class.
(2) A person shall not operate a commercial motor vehicle while transporting hazardous materials unless that person has in their possession a valid commercial driver’s license with a hazardous materials endorsement. An instruction permit does not authorize the operation of a vehicle transporting hazardous materials.
(b) (1) Before an application for an original or renewal of a commercial driver’s license with a hazardous materials endorsement is submitted to the United States Transportation Security Administration for the processing of a security threat assessment, as required under Part 1572 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the department shall complete a check of the applicant’s driving record to ensure that the person is not subject to a disqualification under Part 383.51 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(2) (A) A person shall not be issued a commercial driver’s license until passing a knowledge test and driving test for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle that complies with the minimum federal standards established by the federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-570) and Part 383 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and has satisfied all other requirements of that act as well as any other requirements imposed by this code.
(B) The knowledge test required by Sections 383.23 and 383.25 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations for the issuance of a commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit may be waived for an applicant who is a current or former member of the United States Armed Forces and who meets the conditions and limitations set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 383.77 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as those conditions and limitations relate to the waiver of the knowledge test for current or former military service members with experience operating commercial vehicles.
(C) The driving skills test required by Section 383.23 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations for the issuance of a commercial driver’s license may be waived for an applicant who is a current or former member of the United States Armed Forces and who meets the conditions and limitations set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 383.77 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as those conditions and limitations relate to the waiver of the driving skills test for current or former military service members with experience operating commercial vehicles.
(D) The specialized knowledge test required for the issuance of a hazardous materials endorsement to a commercial driver’s license, or a tank vehicle endorsement to a commercial learner’s permit or commercial driver’s license, and the driving skills test and specialized knowledge test required for a passenger endorsement to a commercial learner’s permit or commercial driver’s license, by Section 383.93 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, may be waived for an applicant who is a current or former member of the United States Armed Forces and who meets the conditions and limitations set forth in subdivision (c) of Section 383.77 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as those conditions and limitations relate to the waiver of required testing for an endorsement for current or former military service members with experience operating commercial vehicles.
(c) The tests shall be prescribed and conducted by or under the direction of the department. The department may allow a third-party tester to administer the driving test part of the examination required under this section and Section 15275 if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The tests given by the third party are the same as those that would otherwise be given by the department.
(2) The third party has an agreement with the department that includes, but is not limited to, the following provisions:
(A) Authorization for the United States Secretary of Transportation, or their representative, and the department, or its representative, to conduct random examinations, inspections, and audits without prior notice.
(B) Permission for the department, or its representative, to conduct onsite inspections at least annually.
(C) A requirement that all third-party testers meet the same qualification and training standards as the department’s examiners, to the extent necessary to conduct the driving skill tests in compliance with the requirements of Part 383 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(D) The department may cancel, suspend, or revoke the agreement with a third-party tester if the third-party tester fails to comply with the standards for the commercial driver’s license testing program, or with any other term of the third-party agreement, upon 15 days’ prior written notice of the action to cancel, suspend, or revoke the agreement by the department to the third party. Any action to appeal or review any order of the department canceling, suspending, or revoking a third-party testing agreement shall be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction under Section 1085 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or as otherwise permitted by the laws of this state. The action shall be commenced within 90 days from the effective date of the order.
(E) Any third-party tester whose agreement has been canceled pursuant to subparagraph (D) may immediately apply for a third-party testing agreement.
(F) A suspension of a third-party testing agreement pursuant to subparagraph (D) shall be for a term of less than 12 months as determined by the department. After the period of suspension, the agreement shall be reinstated upon request of the third-party tester.
(G) A revocation of a third-party testing agreement pursuant to subparagraph (D) shall be for a term of not less than one year. A third-party tester may apply for a new third-party testing agreement after the period of revocation and upon submission of proof of correction of the circumstances causing the revocation.
(H) Authorization for the department to charge the third-party tester a fee, as determined by the department, that is sufficient to defray the actual costs incurred by the department for administering and evaluating the third-party testing program, and for carrying out any other activities deemed necessary by the department to ensure sufficient training for the drivers participating in the program.
(3) Except as provided in Section 15250.3, the tests given by the third party shall not be accepted in lieu of tests prescribed and conducted by the department for applicants for a passenger vehicle endorsement specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 15278, if the applicant operates or will operate a tour bus.
(d) Commercial driver’s license applicants who take and pass driving tests administered by a third party shall provide the department with certificates of driving skill satisfactory to the department that the applicant has successfully passed the driving tests administered by the third party.
(e) If a driving test is administered to a commercial driver’s license applicant who is to be licensed in another state pursuant to Section 383.79 of Subpart E of Part 383 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the department may impose a fee on the applicant that does not exceed the reasonable cost of conducting the tests and reporting the results to the driver’s state of record.
(f) Implementation dates for the issuance of a commercial driver’s license pursuant to this chapter may be established by the department as it determines is necessary to accomplish an orderly commercial driver’s license program.
(g) Active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, members of the military reserves, members of the National Guard who are on active duty, including personnel on full-time National Guard duty, personnel on part-time National Guard training, and National Guard military technicians (civilians who are required to wear military uniforms), and active duty personnel of the United States Coast Guard are exempt from all commercial driver’s license requirements and sanctions, as provided in Section 383.3(c) of Subpart A of Part 383 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations when operating motor vehicles for military purposes. This exception shall not apply to United States Armed Forces reserve technicians.