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House Bill 526 — Commercial license, reinstatement

House Bill 526 — Commercial license, reinstatement

Parrish Miller
February 7, 2022

Bill Description: House Bill 526 would allow for the reinstatement of privileges, under certain circumstances, for commercial drivers with "lifetime disqualification" offenses, after 10 have elapsed.

Rating: +1

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

House Bill 526 would amend how Section 49-335, Idaho Code, covers disqualifications and penalties for commercial drivers. Idaho law says a commercial driver may be "disqualified for the period of time specified in 49 CFR part 383," which is a federal law that calls for "lifetime disqualification" for some offenses.

House Bill 526 would create a path by which a commercial driver disqualified for life could apply for reinstatement "after a minimum ten (10) year period of disqualification."

This path would have several requirements. It would require the applicant to "have a valid class D driver's license from Idaho or any other jurisdiction for a minimum of three (3) consecutive years prior to the date of application." This driver also must "meet all statutory requirements for issuance of a commercial driver's license or commercial learner's permit as a new commercial driver applicant." The person seeking reinstatement also must "voluntarily and successfully complete the national safety council four (4) hour defensive driving course and the professional truck driver four (4) hour course and provide proof of completion of both courses to the department." The driver must "submit a valid medical examiner's certificate, if applicable"; "submit a criminal background check showing that the applicant has not been convicted of any alcohol or drug-related offenses for the ten (10) years prior to the date of application"; and "if the lifetime disqualification was based on an alcohol or controlled substance conviction, submit proof of the applicant's successful completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program."

In other words, this reinstatement process is very demanding, and it is only available once. A reinstated commercial driver who receives a second "lifetime disqualification" will never be eligible for reinstatement. 

House Bill 526 takes a small step toward criminal justice reform by creating a narrow path to reinstatement for commercial drivers who received a career-destroying penalty for some offense committed more than a decade in the past. 


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