Sen. Dahle Drives a New Measure to Define Trucks

Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) recently introduced a measure to appropriately define a truck that best fits its use.

In 2013, the Basic Inspection of Terminals (BIT) and Motor Carrier Permit (MCP) Programs were enacted with the intention of ensuring the safe operation of regulated vehicles. These overly burdensome programs require additional training to operate a truck, which are intended to reduce safety concerns of commercial fleet trucks through proper inspection and maintenance.

Unfortunately, any pickup truck weighing more than 10,000 pounds with utility compartments or a utility bed are subject to the Motor Carriers of Property Permit Act, regardless of whether they are used for commercial purposes.

SB 1243 seeks to exempt pickups with a utility type frame from these programs by redefining ‘pickup truck’ in the California Vehicle Code. Drivers of these vehicles are using the trucks to haul tools and job supplies and are not part of a commercial fleet. Rather, drivers who fall into this category simply use their light duty pickup trucks to handle these tools by adding utility compartments or utilize a truck with what is commonly referred to as a utility bed.

“California laws should not further hinder farmers, small business owners, and many more with these onerous requirements,” said Senator Brian Dahle. “SB 1243 will lessen the burden on pickup truck owners and allow workers to transport tools to do their job of building a better state.”

By being thrown into a category with ‘for hire’ vehicles and ‘for-hire carrier of property’, these vehicle owners will need to comply with the same motor carrier requirements as large commercial trucks, and most are unaware of their requirements to keep record books of miles driven, service to the truck, hours in service, vehicle inspections, drug testing and increased insurance.

SB 1243 will be eligible for a Senate Transportation Committee hearing after March 22, 2020.

California's 1st Senate District contains all or portions of 11 counties, including Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Siskiyou, and Shasta.