Baker files commercial driver safety legislation (H.3980)

As you may know, the Baker-Polito Administration has been reviewing the processes and procedures that led to the tragedy in New Hampshire involving a pick-up truck with an attached trailer and a group of motorcycle operators and riders. As part of that review, the governor has filed legislation [Bill H.3980] to make changes to the state portions of the commercial drivers license (CDL) program.

Among the items included in the legislation:

  • applicants for commercial driver’s licenses will have to demonstrate a history of good driving and will be ineligible for licensure if they have been suspended or disqualified from driving at any time in the past three years;
  • the bill also proposes to raise suspension periods for operators with commercial driver’s licenses who commit multiple, serious traffic violations from 60 to 120 days for drivers who commit two serious traffic violations during a three-year period, and raises the minimum suspension period from 120 to 240 days for drivers who commit three serious violations in that window;
  • require drivers to provide next day notification to employers and the Registry if they are convicted of violating any state or local motor vehicle traffic law or if they have their right to operate a motor vehicle revoked or suspended by any state; and
  • require any employer hiring commercial drivers to sign up for the state’s Driver Verification System, a free service that provides automatic notification to employers when an employee’s commercial driver’s license status changes.

The legislation, which was admitted to the Massachusetts legislature late Friday afternoon, will be most likely assigned to the Joint Committee on Transportation. The Trucking Association of Massachusetts has been reviewing this legislation and plans to weigh in with the legislature accordingly.

To review the text of the legislative filing, visit the Massachusetts Legislature’s website. Sponsored by Gov. Baker, the legislation is titled An Act to Promote Commercial Driver Safety. You can also download a PDF of the legislation.

TAM will have more updates on this matter as it progresses through the legislature.