A look into violations that can cause loss of your CDL (Commercial Driver’s License)
Many actions taken by those who have their CDL, or trucking license, whether it be behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) or personal vehicle, can result in the suspension or loss of licensure. This can lead to loss of income due to a temporary inability to work, or even a need to find a new career.
Alcohol, felonies, abandoning an accident
In contrast to the typical blood alcohol limit of .08%, it is illegal to operate a CMV at .04% or more. Operating a CMV implies consent to be tested for alcohol in the system. You will lose your CDL for at least one year for driving a CMV under the influence of alcohol, refusing blood alcohol testing, driving under the influence of a controlled substance, leaving the scene of an accident, committing a felony involving the vehicle, or causing a fatality due to negligent operation. This is upped to at least three years if the CMV being driven is denoted as having hazardous materials. You will lose your license for life on a second offense, or using your CMV to commit a felony involving controlled substances.
Serious traffic violations
Serious traffic violations include speeding (15 or more over the posted limit), reckless driving, reckless lane changes, following vehicles too closely, traffic offenses while driving a CMV that are related to a fatality, as well as driving without CDL or operating a CMV without the correct CDL class. Committing any of these violations twice, in a three year span, will result in you losing your CDL for 60 days, and 120 days for committing three violations in that 120 day span.
Violation of out of service order
If a driver is placed on an out of service order, they must not operate a CMV during the time under which they are ordered out of service. One of the reasons a driver could be placed out of service is for having alcohol in their system, but below .04%. Violations of this order come with a 90 day CDL suspension for the operator’s first violation, a year suspension for two violations in a ten year span, and three year suspension for three or more violations in a ten year span.
Railroad-Highway grade crossing violations
Railroad-Highway violations occur when the operator does not comply with federal, state, or local regulations pertaining to one of six offenses at a railroad-highway grade crossing. These include: failing to stop at unclear tracks for drivers not required to stop, failing to slow down to check that tracks are clear for those who do not have to stop, failing to stop for those required, driving through tracks without having enough space to make it through without stopping, failing to obey traffic control devices at the crossing, and failing to negotiate a crossing because of a lack of undercarriage clearance. The first violation of these rules results in a 60 day license suspension, 120 days for a second offense in three years, and a year for three or more violations in a three year span.
Traffic violations in your personal vehicle
CDL holders may also lose their license for violations of the law with their personal vehicle. If your ability to operate your personal vehicle is revoked, canceled or suspended for any reason other than parking violations, you also lose CDL privileges. If the loss of license is due to alcohol, controlled substance, or felony violations, you will lose your CDL for a year from the first offense, and life for the second.
Know your rights
As a commercial driver’s license holder, it is important to know your rights, when it comes to CDL traffic violations and those violations involving your personal motor vehicle. Do not let an allegation become a permanent blemish on your ability to provide for yourself and your family. You have a right to an evidentiary hearing on all allegations and should pursue any remedy possible to either eliminate or mitigate your risk for long term effects.