Worst day ever. You get pulled over while hauling your load and end up with a moving violation. You’ve been busted for speeding as a trucker. For starters, you have to worry about your truck driving job particularly if you are a repeat offender.
This will definitely go on your truck driving record, your CSA score, and your DAT report. It’s going to haunt you for years to come. But maybe it’s not all that bad. How exactly will a ticket affect your CDL?
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Speeding Tickets on OTR Trucking Jobs
If you are driving your big rig on a route and you are caught speeding, you face harsher penalties than the average Joe. In fact, even if you get a speeding ticket when you aren’t on a trucking job you can face stiffer penalties. Any traffic violations or moving violations that you incur while a trucker are devastating to your career. Avoid at all costs.
Why? For starters, a trucking company is not going to want to hire a driver who can’t follow the rules of the road. Secondly, their insurance company will not let them hire you. If your commercial driving record is marred by moving violations including speeding tickets you become a risk and road hazard. By hiring you, a company will have to put its own neck on the line, and you can bet that most trucking companies won’t risk it. So you shouldn’t risk it either. Keep the speed under control, trucker.
Commercial Driver’s License Dinged by Points
Now let’s say it’s already happened. You have been busted as a speeder. What happens now?
- If you have been caught speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit, this is considered a serious traffic offense for truckers
- If you are also found to be recklessly driving this is an additional serious traffic offense
- Following too closely or improper lane changing will also cause you to get a serious traffic offense on your CDL
- If you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while speeding, this is a major violation
- If you are committing a felony while speeding this is also a major violation
The difference between a serious offense and a major violation is notable for a commercial truck driver. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) if you have a serious offense, i.e. you are caught speeding, you could lose your commercial driver’s license.
Getting Disqualified for Speeding as a Trucker
However, a serious offense isn’t as hefty of a penalty on your CDL compared to a major violation. If you have a major violation, for example, you are caught drinking and driving a big rig, you automatically lose your CDL for one year if you are found guilty. If you are caught speeding, the penalties aren’t as severe:
The first time you are caught speeding you do not lose your CDL. You can consider this a warning call.
If you are caught and convicted of speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit a second time, in a three-year period, you will lose your CDL for 60 days. This applies whether you are driving a commercial truck or your own vehicle.
If you have a third conviction for speeding 15 mph or more, within the three-year period of your first two convictions, you will lose your CDL for 120 days.
So if you are caught speeding more than 15 mph over you get in serious trouble, but what about speeding less than 15 mph? If you receive any speeding tickets while driving a commercial vehicle for your trucking company you are required to report these immediately to your supervisor.
If you are caught speeding in a non-commercial vehicle you should also tell your employer. That’s because your driving record for your overall driving history affects your trucking job. While you may not be penalized by your boss for speeding off the job, this could cause an increase in the insurance coverage cost for your employer. You become a more risky driver with every speeding ticket you get, both off the job and behind the wheel of a big rig. Honesty is always the best policy.
What if you get caught speeding more than 15 mph over the speed limit, and you choose to fight this in court? If you do not get convicted of speeding in excess of 15 mph over the speed limit, then you will not be charged with a serious offense on your CDL. If you are at risk of losing your CDL due to previous speeding tickets and other serious offenses, such as reckless driving, it can be worth the extra cost for an attorney and court fees to fight the ticket. After all, this is your trucking career that will be in jeopardy if you lose your CDL for speeding.
Type of Ticket Received
The severity of your consequence depends a lot on which type of traffic ticket you receive. Some offenses disqualify you from keeping your CDL and from ever applying for one again. This includes serious offenses like operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above the accepted limit, committing manslaughter with a vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, and using a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony. In fact, many felonies are grounds for the loss of a commercial driver’s license.
However, some CDL tickets may not have such serious consequences. For example, speeding a little bit or parking incorrectly may not be an issue unless you get multiple tickets for the same offense over a period of time.
Even if you never get driving tickets that are considered serious on their own, receiving multiple tickets can eventually spell bad news for your commercial driver’s license. This is legislated on a statewide level, so you may wish to consult your CDL handbook to find out how many tickets in what period of time may result in your license getting revoked.
In some states, for example, getting two or more tickets in a six-month time period may result in the temporary suspension of your commercial driver’s license. Getting more tickets in a shorter time frame may result in your CDL being permanently revoked.
Your Driving Patterns and History
When employment and insurance decisions are being made, employers and insurers often look at your driving history. If you have one or two tickets over a ten-year period, they are not likely to affect your driving career significantly. However, if you consistently receive tickets on an annual basis, this may indicate to employers that you are a reckless driver. Even worse, insurers may decide that you are not worth the risk, leaving you unable to get insurance for a commercial vehicle.
If you are found to be a risky or reckless driver, you may have difficulty obtaining employment as a truck driver. Though you may technically keep your commercial driver’s license, you may not be able to use it in your employment. As a result, it is extremely important to follow the rules of the road and always be aware of the speed limit whenever you are driving, whether you are driving a personal or commercial vehicle.
Will a Ticket Affect Your CDL? Review Your Case With Our Lawyers
Driving a commercial vehicle is a big responsibility. Because of that, standards are higher for commercial drivers than for personal drivers. Though one ticket may not affect your driver’s license, it is worth your career and your license to be as careful when driving as possible. If you have been ticketed or had your CDL suspended reach out to our Chicago Traffic Lawyers for help.