California AG Gives Thumbs Up on Driver Video Cameras

February 24, 2014

By Evan Lockridge

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe

California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris’s office issued an opinion earlier this month saying continuous video taping of truck drivers while they are behind the wheel does not violate state law.

The opinion was requested by a state senate member who wanted to also know if such video footage could legally be viewed by a third party and used as the basis of for discipline against the truck driver by their employer. The concern was that such use could violate a state law put on the books about 85 years ago.

In saying such use is permitted, the attorney general’s office said it would be legal “provided that the third party is an agent of the driver’s employer who is videotaping and inspecting the file for the sole benefit of the driver’s employer, and that the file is furnished only to the driver’s employer.”

The AG also noted such use is allowed if, “when the video recordings are used for training or disciplinary purposes, the recording is made available to the driver or the driver’s bargaining representative.”

The attorney general’s office was asked whether California Labor Code section 1051 is violated by using driver-facing or forward-facing video cameras that continuously record the actions of a truck or bus driver. Third-party companies under contract with the driver’s employer currently offer such systems.

Typically, the footage is recorded in a continuous loop, overwriting previous footage, unless the vehicle undergoes an unusual force such as hard braking, swerving, or a collision. When such a triggering event occurs, the camera then saves the footage that has been recorded for some set period of time before and after the event.

The video is received by the system operator, who then may “code,” or mark, the recording for ease of review, and is then made available to the driver’s employer for review of the driver’s actions before and after the triggering event. The employer is then in a position to use the video file for training or disciplinary purposes, according to the attorney general’s office.

Two years ago California lawmakers passed legislation that was signed into law allowing video event recorders in commercial vehicles law and bringing the state “into alignment with federal motor safety regulations, which exempt such devices from the federal prohibition against driver-view obstructions,” the attorney general’s office noted.


  1. 1. lastgoodusername [ February 25, 2014 @ 04:40AM ]

    As we enter this brave new world of the Naked Trucker , just remember that heated seats will become a much requested option on new trucks and i would assume an awesome upgrade to the existing fleet. I can see the driver recruiting ads now. Enjoy

  2. 2. vicki [ February 25, 2014 @ 05:08AM ]

    The day is coming when they will measure how much we pee each day,oh and don't mess up your hos with such nonsense

  3. 3. haller [ February 25, 2014 @ 07:10AM ]

    Nation wide shutdown for two weeks......

  4. 4. Jesus [ February 27, 2014 @ 09:20AM ]

    Maybe these guys want to know how we make love to our wives, so they can take advantage of our private stuff and learn something; even if we are taking our 50 hours restart, this is nuts and peanuts. As Haller said, these guys need a lesson from the industry; anyway, I can plan my expenses for a month, shut my equipment down, go home, and see if people with no clue, keep doing these ridiculous changes for the good of the private sector.

  5. 5. Ronnie H [ March 01, 2014 @ 08:30AM ]

    Screw CA. and all of them that try 2 take your Freedom .

  6. 6. Cliff Downing [ March 01, 2014 @ 08:48AM ]

    It is truly nice to be captain of your own ship. But if I was in a situation where someone put the camera on me in the cab, I would do what I did back in the day a long time ago that I, as a civilian, worked as a computer specialist for the Air Force in Denver. There was a security camera that watched us in the area I worked. I fabricated a frame and fastened a picture of the Playboy Centerfold on the frame. No matter where the camera turned, nothing but a T&A view. Not really surprised it took them over a week before they decided it needed to come down.


Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 2000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.


ELDs and Telematics

sponsored by
sponsor logo

Scott Sutarik from Geotab will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Sleeper Cab Power

Steve Carlson from Xantrex will answer your questions and challenges

View All