California Commercial Truck Laws

There are numerous federal laws in place that aim to make truck-driving safer for truckers and other drivers alike. These include regulations concerning training, hours on the road, weight limits, and drug and alcohol testing.

As one of the most progressive states in the country, California has gone a step further and enacted its own regulations designed to protect the health of its citizens. Two recent bills signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom have generated a lot of attention, and some criticism. Keep reading to learn what these laws mean for Californians and for the trucking industry.

SB 210: Limiting Smog Emissions

Senate Bill 210, which was sponsored by Senator Connie M. Levya (D — Chino), requires heavy-duty diesel trucks to undergo “smog checks” that test their emissions. It’s estimated that the bill will remove 1,600 tons of harmful particles from the air over the next ten years.

“As California continues to lead the nation on improving air quality, SB 210 is a critical next step by making sure that the big diesel trucks that drive on our roads and highways undergo a smog check inspection, just like we already do for the passenger cars that we drive to and from home and work every day,” Senator Leyva said.

SB210 applies to all trucks that weigh 14,000 pounds or more, including single-vehicle fleets. This is a more extensive testing program than the Periodic Smoke Inspection Program (PSIP) that is currently overseen by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Trucking industry authorities such as the Western States Trucking Association have derided the new law as unnecessary and expensive. A pilot version of the new testing program will continue to roll out through 2020 and 2021.

SB 44: Ditching Dirty Diesel

Senate Bill 44, which was sponsored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D — Berkeley), aims to phase out all “dirty diesel” vehicles by 2050. The original bill called for medium- and heavy-duty trucks to curb their greenhouse emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, but the final version of the law leaves these emission standards up to CARB. The board determined that by 2045, every new truck sold in the state must be zero-emission.

“It’s no secret that medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses are significant sources of lung-damaging particulate matter,” Skinner said. “But what is less known is that diesel-fueled trucks and buses produce nearly one-quarter of GHG emissions from California’s transportation sector.”

According to the American Lung Association, eight of the ten most polluted cities nationwide are in California, including Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Sacramento, and San Diego.

All medium- and heavy-duty trucks will have to meet new emission standards by January 1, 2021, so the upheaval to California’s trucking industry over the next five months will be significant — and costly.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney

Whether it’s running on clean or dirty diesel, a 20,000-pound truck can inflict an incredible amount of damage when it’s not operated properly. The injuries sustained in truck accidents can be life-altering, even fatal. In 2017, more than 4,700 people were killed in these crashes — and more than 70% of them were occupants of other cars.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision with a truck, contact Morgan & Morgan. As America’s largest personal injury law firm, we have the reputation, resources, and experience necessary to take on the insurance companies and win. We never settle for less than full compensation for our clients’ past and future damages. Over the past 30 years, we’ve recovered more than $7 billion For The People.

It costs nothing up front to hire us, and we get paid only if you win. To see if you qualify for a lawsuit, contact us for a free, no-obligation case review.

These lawsuits are time-sensitive, so don’t wait. Reach out today.

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