If You Get A Ticket In Missouri
Commercial driving laws in Missouri are governed by both the FMCSA and state-specific laws. CDL holders should be aware that the fees for violations in a commercial vehicle are much higher and penalties hold more severe consequences than violations that occur in a regular passenger vehicle. Even if the violation is dismissed in court, you may still have points added to your driving record. That’s why it’s important to talk to a legal professional with experience in commercial driving law immediately if you receive a ticket of any kind. Tickets received while driving your personal vehicle can affect your driving record too, and possibly have detrimental effects on your career.
As a commercial vehicle driver, you are required to adhere to Missouri laws in the following categories, which are unique to commercial drivers:
Hours of Service (HOS): Federal regulations limit the number of hours you may drive consecutively. To help improve road safety for all drivers, commercial drivers are required to take rest breaks and extended rest periods.
Vehicle Inspections: To help increase safety, commercial vehicle drivers are required to conduct pre-trip and post-strip vehicle inspections.
Weight Limits: Because overloading of commercial vehicles can cause a hazard to other drivers on the road, the state of Missouri has specific weight limits for commercial vehicles that must be followed.
Hazardous Materials: Any commercial driver who transports hazardous materials must have proper labeling and placarding and must handle these materials in compliance with federal and state regulations.
Alcohol and Drug Testing: You may be subject to alcohol and drug testing in the state of Missouri at various times, including pre-employment, random testing while employed, and testing after an accident.
Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): To help ensure commercial drivers comply with Hours of Service limits, federal regulations require the use of ELDs to accurately record hours driven.
Record Keeping: In addition to ELDs, commercial drivers must maintain accurate driving records, details of inspections, and other information as required by the FMCSA and Missouri regulations.
In addition to these regulations, commercial drivers must be aware of the violations considered serious in the state of Missouri. A serious violation can result in more severe consequences than regular traffic violations and possibly the suspension or revocation of your CDL. That’s why it’s important to speak with an experienced legal professional who understands commercial driving laws. It could make the difference in keeping your license and your job.
The following laws apply to commercial vehicle drivers in Missouri. However, please note that regulations may change, so always check with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) for the most current.
The following are considered serious CDL violations in Missouri:
- Excessive speeding or driving significantly above the posted speed limit. This also applies to driving at a speed that is considered dangerous for the conditions of the road you are on.
- Reckless driving. This includes driving a commercial vehicle in a manner that endangers other people or property.
- Following too closely. Also known as “tailgating”, this means failing to allow a safe following distance behind another vehicle. If it leads to a rear-end collision, there could be additional consequences.
- Improper lane changes. Unsafe or abrupt lane changes without proper signaling or allowance for other drivers are considered serious violations.
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Commercial drivers who operate a vehicle (even if it is a personal vehicle) under the influence of drugs or alcohol could face immediate license suspension.
- Leaving the scene of an accident. Commercial vehicle drivers must stop to exchange information with other drivers in the case of an accident and report the accident to their employer. Failure to do so is considered a serious violation.
- Failure to secure cargo. If cargo is determined to be a safety hazard to other drivers, commercial vehicle drivers can face charges.
- Driving a commercial vehicle without a valid CDL. No commercial driver should operate a commercial vehicle while their CDL is suspended or revoked.
- Driving without proper endorsements. Commercial vehicles that require specific endorsements may only be driven by CDL holders with the required endorsements.
- Failure to stop for school buses. All drivers of commercial vehicles must stop at a bus’s stop signal and never pass a school bus that is stopped to pick up or drop off children.
In the state of Missouri, serious violations are subject to a 60-day disqualification from driving. Be sure to contact a legal professional who can work to help you avoid losing days on the job and valuable income.
Although not classified as serious violations, there are many common violations for which a Missouri commercial driver may receive a ticket. These violations may also affect your driving record, so it’s important to speak with a legal professional experienced in trucking laws before you simply pay a ticket.
These common violations include:
- Hours of Service violations
- Logbook errors
- Distracted driving (using a hand-held mobile device or engaging in other distractions)
- Failure to complete pre-trip and post-trip inspections
- Operating a commercial vehicle that has been inadequately maintained
- Failure to complete required vehicle inspections on time
- Illegal parking, such as in no-parking zones or parking in a manner that blocks traffic
Commercial drivers in Missouri receive points on their driving records, with the number of points determined by the severity of the violation. Drivers who accumulate 12 points in 12 months, 18 points in 24 months, or 24 points in 36 months will have their license revoked for 1 year. Those who acquire 8 points within an 18-month period will have their license suspended for 30 days the first time, 60 days the second time and 90 days for any following suspensions.
Some examples of violations in the state of Missouri that will result in 2 points (the lowest possible number) being added to your driving record are as follows:
- Driving while disqualified
- Excessive speeding (15+ mph over speed limit)
- Failure to keep right
- Failure/improper signal
- Following too closely
Points on your record can be detrimental to your career. That’s why it’s important to speak with a legal expert who is experienced in trucker law and can help you fight for your driving record and your job.
Your driving history as a commercial driver follows you if you move away from the state of Missouri. Likewise, any prior violations that occurred before you moved to Missouri will show on your record in Missouri. If additional offenses are committed while you are licensed in Missouri, all the information in your record will be used to determine how long your license is suspended or revoked. An experienced, knowledgeable attorney who understands commercial driving law can help protect you from suspension or possibly termination of your job if they are able to work on your behalf before you pay a ticket or admit guilt.
If you are a CDL holder in Missouri and receive a conviction for any traffic violations in the state, in either your personal or commercial vehicle, you must notify your employer within 30 days. If you are convicted of a violation in any other jurisdiction, you must notify your licensing agency within 30 days. If your CDL is suspended, revoked, or canceled, or you are disqualified from driving, you must notify your employer within two business days.
Keeping your driving record in good standing is the most important thing you can do for your career. Make sure you have a legal professional on your side who understands the laws and how they affect commercial drivers specifically.
The Missouri Department of Revenue takes very seriously any violations committed by commercial vehicle drivers. In addition to the possible 60-day disqualification for serious violations, drivers are also subject to a 90-day disqualification for a first-time violation of an out-of-service order, a 120-day disqualification for three or more serious convictions within three years, a 180-day disqualification for transporting hazardous materials while under an out-of-service order or transporting 15 or more passengers while under an out-of-service order.
The following are considered major offenses and will result in a one-year disqualification in Missouri:
- Driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher
- Driving a commercial or personal vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
- Refusing a blood and/or breath test
- Using a CMV in the commission of a felony
- Failure to stop at the scene of an accident that causes injury or death
- Driving a CMV with a revoked, suspended, canceled or disqualified privilege
- Causing a fatality through negligence or the criminal operation of a CMV
- Making a false statement on a CDL application
- 3 or more railroad crossing violations within three years
Any commercial driver who uses a motor vehicle in the manufacture or illegal distribution of drugs, or in the commission of a felony involving an act or practice of severe forms of trafficking will receive a lifetime disqualification, which is not eligible for a 10-year reinstatement.