Patterson pushes gas pedal on trucking licenses


California’s highways have no shortage of trucks. It’s the drivers who are now asking for help.

“It’s taking something like 13, 14, 18 weeks for some of these truck driver students to get an appointment,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson.

The Fresno Republican wants to change that with Assembly Bill 301. It would allow drivers who’ve gone through the training to take their test sooner.

“Many times these students have jobs lined up the minute that they get their commercial truck driving license,” Patterson said, “and many of them have lost their job opportunities because weeks and weeks go by.”

Right now, the DMV issues the commercial driving test. But the DMV is busy.

This legislation would allow other third party groups, like community colleges and unions, to give the test, with all of it still under the control of the DMV.

KSEE24 has been tracking this bi-partisan bill since January.  

We were in Patterson’s office after initial meetings with eventual co-author Freddie Rodriguez, a Democrat from Southern California.

“An outside, third-party, testing site,” Patterson said to his staff back in January.  “I mean, this is an answer for so many people who the state is messing with their licenses across the board.”

Monte Grinstead drives all over the Valley, and because of his age, just had to re-take the written test.

For Grinstead, cutting the backlog is one thing– just as long as the training and the test don’t get any easier.

“I’ve seen driving skills of truckers gradually decrease over the years, and it really bothers me,” he said.

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