CDL Disqualifying Offenses: How you Could Lose your License

While being a truck driver is exciting, stable, and well-paying, you need to be aware of CDL disqualifying offenses to avoid losing your commercial driver’s license. In order to stay qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle, you need to stay within the limits of the law. From major offenses like drunk driving to serious (but more minor) offenses like excessive speeding, knowing the CDL disqualifying offenses not only keeps you safe but keeps everyone else on the road protected, too. In order to keep your license and continue exploring the countryside, read on:

CDL Disqualifying Offenses

When it comes to CDL disqualifying offenses, there are two different kinds: major offenses and minor offenses. While you’ll get your license suspended, either way, major offenses have harsher penalties than serious ones. It’s also important to note that a driver’s disqualification period is determined not only by the offense but by their record of prior offenses, making it all the more important to stay safe on the road.

Major Offenses:

Major offenses require a minimum suspension of one year, meaning you’ll lose your license for at least a full 12 months, but maybe for longer. These offenses include:

1. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

If you are pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol, you’re in big trouble. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .04% or higher, you’re sure to lose your license. And don’t think you can talk your way out of it, because refusing to take an alcohol test will also cause you to lose your CDL. 

2. Driving Under the Influence of Illegal Drugs

Driving under the influence of a controlled substance will cause you to lose your CDL. This includes marijuana, despite the fact that it’s legal in some states. If you are prescribed a controlled substance for mental or physical health concerns, be sure to clear it with your doctor and your employer before getting on the road to ensure you won’t be penalized.

3. Transportation or Possession of Narcotics

Trucking is a federal profession, requiring you to cross state lines. This means that transporting narcotics will not only cause you to lose your CDL, it will also likely land you in prison. 

4. Unlawfully Leaving the Scene of an Accident

If you get in an accident while driving your CMV, don’t under any circumstances leave the scene of the accident. If you do, you could lose your CDL. So if you’re involved in an accident while on the job, always stop and wait for law enforcement to arrive. Once everything is squared away, you’re free to leave, but it’s vital that you follow the standard procedure in order to keep your CDL.

5. Causing a Death

If you cause a death on the road due to reckless driving, inattention, or any other missteps, you will lose your CDL. 

6. Committing a Felony Using a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)

Using a CMV to commit a felony is one of the major CDL disqualifying offenses. And if the felony is related to the manufacture, distribution, or dispensation of controlled substances, you’ll receive a mandatory lifetime ban.

7. Driving a CMV With a Suspended or Revoked License

If you are caught driving a CMV with a revoked, suspended, or disqualified CDL due to a prior violation, you’ll face an even harsher penalty, likely losing your license for longer than the year minimum. So if you do happen to get your license suspended for any reason, be sure to stay off the road and abide by the law.

Serious Offenses:

While major offenses require a minimum suspension of one year, serious offenses (all of which are traffic violations) require a minimum disqualification of only 60 days. However, if you get more than one serious offense or you try and operate a CMV during your limited suspension, you’re in for a much harsher penalty. Serious offenses include:

1. Excessive Speeding

If you’re caught driving 15 mph or more over the speed limit, that’s a serious offense. Not only does excessive speeding endanger yourself and your cargo, but it also puts other motorists at risk.

2. Reckless Driving

Driving your CMV with a willful disregard for safety or consequences constitutes a serious offense, and you’re liable to lose your license for at least 60 days.

3. Erratic Lange Changes

If you’re erratically weaving between lanes or changing lanes without a signal, you’re committing a serious offense.

4. Tailgating

If you’re following the vehicle ahead of you too closely, you’re tailgating. Not only is tailgating dangerous, especially for large vehicles, it’s also a serious offense.

5. Operating a CMV without a CDL

If you’re operating a CMV without a CDL or commercial learner’s permit (CLP), you’re liable to lose driving privileges and face major fines.

6. Texting While Driving

Texting while driving is a serious offense for all motorists, but especially for truck drivers. CDL disqualifying offenses like this one also include talking on the phone while driving and other cellular distractions. 

Learn About CDL Disqualifying Offenses with the Help of Truck Driver Institute

As a truck driver, it’s important to learn the rules of the road and abide by them. Not only will these rules protect you and your cargo from dangerous accidents, they will also help keep other drivers safe. Knowing the CDL disqualifying offenses, both major and serious will help you stay on the right side of the law. And while some of these rules, such as drug possession and hit-and-runs, are more blatant or obvious violations, it’s just as important to remember the more minor offenses like reckless driving and excessive speeding. 

To learn more about CDL disqualifying offenses and how to keep yourself and others safe on the job, connect with the experts at Truck Driver Institute! With decades of experience training future generations of truck drivers, we know the rules (and regulations) of the road inside and out. To stay on the right side of the law and keep your CDL, get started with Truck Driver Institute today!

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