For some people, driving professionally can blossom into a rewarding career. A person who hopes to obtain their commercial driver’s license, or CDL, must meet strict qualifications. Not everyone meets the requirements to become a commercial driver. Truck drivers and others who drive for a living are held to a much higher standard than everyone else on the road. The State needs to trust that only the most skilled and responsible drivers are on the road for extensive periods, which is why it can be challenging to meet the necessary standards.
Many factors can play into disqualification from obtaining or keeping a CDL. A commercial driver must abide by all the rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These rules are much more extensive than those learned when receiving your first non-commercial driver’s license. Committing just one traffic violation in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) could be enough to disqualify a driver from keeping his CDL or applying for one.
It’s important to thoroughly understand all the rules and regulations of being a commercial driver; otherwise, a simple mistake could cost you your livelihood. If you’re currently facing a CDL suspension, you’re urged to seek skilled legal counsel to protect your license. An experienced traffic attorney could benefit your case.
Top Violations That May Lead to the Loss of a CDL
Getting a traffic ticket in a commercial vehicle is much more serious than receiving a citation in a personal vehicle. Commercial drivers have considerably less leniency when it comes to disregarding the rules of the road. So, which violations can lead to the loss of a CDL? Examples include the below traffic offenses:
- Excessive speeding
- Having a BAC of 0.04% or higher
- Using one or more controlled substances or driving under the influence of controlled substances
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Committing a felony with the CMV
- Using the CMV to manufacture or distribute controlled substances
Any of the above violations could lead to the loss of a commercial driver’s license. Under the FMCSA, there are also CDL-specific violations.
CDL-Only Violations that Could Void Your Commercial Driver’s License
You could lose your CDL under CMV-only violations such as:
- Having a BAC of 0.04% or higher (for the average driver, the legal BAC limit is 0.08%)
- Causing a fatality in an accident involving the CMV. A commercial driver who is believed to have caused a fatality due to the negligent operation of their CMV will immediately lose their CDL.
- Driving a CMV with a canceled, revoked, or suspended CDL. Such a driver will be disqualified.
Additionally, serious traffic violations other than the ones listed here could also lead to disqualification. Drivers of commercial vehicles may suffer violations or disqualification of their CDLs for dangerous driving behaviors such as:
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Driving at 15 or more miles per hour over the speed limit
- Reckless driving
- Any traffic violation connected to a fatal accident
- Driving a CDL without
- Obtaining a CDL
- Carrying a CDL
- The proper CDL classification or endorsement
- Erratic lane changes
Can Felons Obtain a Commercial Driver’s License?
People with a felony on their criminal records face an uphill battle when trying to acquire steady work. If you were convicted of a felony, it may still be possible to get your commercial driver’s license; it all depends on the conviction. Federal laws can prevent you from obtaining a CDL if you were convicted of:
- Intent to murder
- Manslaughter with a motor vehicle
- Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher
- Causing a fatality with a vehicle due to negligent or reckless driving
Anyone who uses a commercial motor vehicle to commit a felony will be banned from obtaining a CDL. Research Florida’s requirements on getting a CDL if you have a felony on your record as these permissions vary by state.
Are CDL Disqualifications Permanent?
Often, CDL disqualifications aren’t permanent. A disqualification may last a few months and could be similar to having a license suspension. In many cases it may be possible to restore your commercial driving privileges.
Common periods of disqualification are:
- 60 days: for 2 serious violations in separate incidents over a three-year period
- 120 days: for 3 serious violations in separate incidents over a three-year period
Protect Your CDL and Career with a Traffic Attorney in West Palm Beach
With the help of an attorney, it may be possible to avoid disqualification altogether. See what The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel can do for you by calling 561-622-5575. We’ve helped thousands of commercial drivers throughout Palm Beach County fight their traffic violations so they could continue to thrive.
Attorney Brian P. Gabriel has extensive experience resolving traffic cases. He’s a member of The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers and has practiced law for more than 30 years. Complete our contact form for a free consultation.