What happens when you get a ticket with a CDL?
As a commercial driver, keeping your driving record clean is the most important factor in determining your job possibilities and the future of your career. Commercial drivers are held to stricter standards than drivers of passenger vehicles – in part because there is more potential for greater damage caused by accidents involving commercial vehicles. Even minor offenses can have an affect on your driving career if you have more than one on your record. One important thing to note is that you are required to report any tickets you receive to your employer within 30 days.
All commercial drivers have a CSA (Compliance, Safety and Accountability) score on record with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is based on their individual roadside inspection and crash data. Potential employers will check your CSA score and your MVR before hiring you to make sure you are a good candidate for their company, so it’s important to make sure your records are accurate and to take immediate action if you are ticketed or involved in an accident. A legal firm who specializes in trucker law can help you fight a case or have fines and points reduced so you maintain a good record.
Laws and penalties for commercial drivers vary from state to state, but there are some general rules regarding traffic violations and tickets. In general, the number of points given for violations in commercial vehicles is usually about one-and-a-half the number of points given for violations that occur in a personal vehicle. Drivers with special endorsements, such as HAZMAT drivers, can face even more severe penalties and higher points.
The number of points you receive if ticketed will depend on whether the offense is considered minor or major. In all states, the violations that are considered major include:
- following too closely
- driving in excess of 15 mph over the speed limit
- improper lane changes
- causing a fatal accident by violating a major traffic control law
- reckless driving
- railroad crossing violations
- failure to possess your CDL while driving a commercial vehicle
- operating a commercial vehicle without the proper endorsement
- texting or using a handheld device while operating a commercial vehicle
If it is your first offense, your license likely will not be suspended. However, if you commit another offense within three years, it may be suspended for up to 60 days and up to 120 days for a third offense.
The important thing to remember is that any ticket you receive can have a permanent effect on your driving record and your career, so you should never just pay a ticket without letting a legal expert help you fight for the lowest fine and number of points possible. Our legal team specializes in trucker law in every state and we can help you.