House Passes Commercial Drivers License Compliance Fix (HB378/Whip Wilson)
State was in danger of losing federal highway money without change in HB378
Tuesday, April 08, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives today moved the state a step closer to complying with new federal requirements for commercial driver licenses, or CDLs. The House unanimously passed HB 378, by the House Transportation Committee, to ensure Alaska’s CDL program is not decertified. Decertification puts up to $34 million in federal highway funds at risk.
“The new requirements in House Bill 378 will make the roads a safer place for all Alaskans,” House Majority Whip Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell and the House Transportation Chair, said. “It does so by allowing the Division of Motor Vehicles to refuse or revoke a registration for a motor carrier or commercial vehicle that does not meet federal highway standards. It’s a critical fix at a time when we have to make sure we capture our share of highway funds.”
The bill also raises the age for a CDL permit from 17 to 18, and makes it valid for only 180 days plus an additional 180 day renewal, instead of the current two years. The permit will be disqualified in the same manner as a license, if the driver or the vehicle is operating while non-compliant with federal safety regulations, or is convicted of manslaughter or negligent homicide while driving a motor vehicle. Texting while driving will also be made a serious CDL traffic violation. A final change clarifies that registration fees for vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds are charged at commercial rates.
HB 378 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.