SACRAMENTO – In response to complaints from the Commercial Trucking Industry regarding excessive wait times for Commercial Driver License (CDL) examinations, Assemblymembers Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona) and Jim Patterson (R-Clovis) introduced Assembly Bill 301. The original language of AB 301 would have expanded third party testing for CDL applicants. This would have essentially outsourced work performed by Licensing Registration Examiner (LREs) to other groups, such as, trucking schools, municipalities, unions, and other institutions.
Upon learning of AB 301, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) immediately took to the Capitol to express its strong opposition. CSLEA, along with its Legislative Advocate Shane LaVigne of Capitol Advocacy, spoke with legislative staff, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and other stakeholders. It is true that certain DMV CDL offices experience longer wait times for CDL tests, however, this was often a result of “office shopping” by applicants, DMV’s failure to enforce reasonable time limits on CDL examinations, an ineffective appointment scheduling system, and an insufficient number of LREs and examination locations.
CSLEA advocated that DMV has the ability to make changes to the CDL examination process to reduce wait times, and should be given an opportunity to remedy this issue before the Legislature should consider outsourcing CDL examinations to third parties. Additionally, allowing trucking schools to perform CDL examinations would be difficult to regulate, consistency would be impossible to achieve, and there has been history of some trucking schools involved in fraudulent activity.
After numerous conversations over the last couple of weeks, on Monday April 17, 2017, just prior to the Assembly Transportation Committee hearing on AB 301, Assemblymember Rodriguez pulled AB 301 from the agenda. The authors decided to gut and amend AB 301 and substantial amendments include replacing all outsourcing language with a series of directives to DMV. These directives require DMV to make internal improvements to the DMV CDL examination process in order to reduce wait times to no more than seven days by June 1, 2019. CSLEA is supporting this language and is eager to work with DMV on improvements to its CDL examination process.
“CSLEA and Legislative Advocate Shane LaVigne worked very hard and did an amazing job getting AB 301 amended so quickly,” said Coalition of Licensing Registration Examiners (COLRE) President Bernadette Gonzalez. “Their actions benefit COLRE members and, I believe, keep safety on our streets and highways in the forefront.”