5 Things Commercial Drivers Should Remember To Protect Their CDL
It is a hardship for anyone to lose their driver’s license, but most especially for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders who earn their living behind the wheel. In this post, we take a look at five things that all CDL holders should know in order to protect their driving privileges and their ability to earn an income as a commercial driver.
1. Just say no to drugs.
Your CDL can be terminated for life, with no possibility of reinstatement, if you use any vehicle (commercial or personal) in the commission of a felony involving controlled substances.
2. What you do in your personal vehicle counts.
Major driving violations can result in the loss of your CDL, even if you were driving a personal vehicle when the violation was committed. These violations include driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants (DUI), leaving the scene of an accident, using a vehicle in the commission of a felony, or operating a commercial vehicle while your CDL is suspended.
The first major violation, whether committed in a commercial or personal vehicle, typically results in a one-year suspension. The second violation can result in a lifetime disqualification, although in some cases, reinstatement may be possible after ten years.
3. The rules are stricter for commercial operators than for non-commercial drivers.
As just one example: for personal-vehicle drivers, the Illinois standard for DUI is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. For commercial vehicle drivers, the threshold is just .04%.
4. Repeated “serious” violations can be almost as bad as a “major” violation.
Violations that can result in suspension of your CDL are classified as either “major” or “serious.” One major violation can lead to a 365-day suspension. In comparison, while a single serious violation does not lead to a suspension, a second within three years results in a 90-day suspension, and a third within three years results in a 120-day suspension. (In contrast to major violations, serious violations committed in a personal vehicle are not included in this count.)
Examples of serious violations include:
• Driving more than 15 miles over the posted speed limit
• Making improper lane changes
• Following the vehicle ahead too closely
• Using a handheld communication device while driving a commercial vehicle
• Committing any moving violation in connection with a fatal accident
• Driving a commercial vehicle without having, in the driver’s possession, the proper CDL classification and endorsements
• Failing to slow down or stop as required at railroad highway grade crossings (third violation in three years nets a minimum one-year suspension)
5. Keeping or Regaining Your CDL Can Be Tough--But It Is Possible
An experienced CDL/traffic violations attorney can often help a commercial driver keep their record clean by getting violations reduced or dismissed. Most suspensions can be contested by requesting an administrative hearing in front of a Secretary of State hearing officer. You may even be able to regain your CDL after receiving a lifetime disqualification due to DUI.
Protect Your CDL with an Aggressive Will County Attorney
It is critical for commercial drivers to keep their driving record as clean as possible. If you have been charged with any driving violations that put your CDL at risk, you need an experienced Will County CDL defense attorney on your side. For a free and confidential consultation, call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025; calls are responded to 24 hours a day.