Will a Traffic Ticket Affect Your Truck Driving Career?

If you are a commercial driver and hear a police car screaming toward you it can affect the status of your license and your career.

There are two problems for CDL holders:

  • criminal charges
  • CDL consequences

The severity of your consequence effects on a type of traffic ticket you will receive. Some tickets may not have serious consequences (parking incorrectly, speeding a little bit, etc.). But if you get multiple tickets for the same offense over a period of time it can have serious consequences for your career as a truck driver.

The offenses, which have serious consequences, disqualify a truck driver from keeping a CDL and from ever applying for one again, for example, leave the scene of an accident, use a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony, operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above the accepted limit, etc.).

A traffic ticket affects your CDL even if you are in your personal vehicle

Traffic conviction undoubtedly affects your commercial driving record whether you’re in your commercial vehicle or not.

If you operated your personal vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and were caught by the police, you can say your CDL goodbye for a year, it will be suspended upon conviction.

But if you operated a hazardous materials commercial vehicle being intoxicated, the suspension for DWI will increase to three years. A second DWI conviction will forbid you to drive your commercial truck for life! Drug convictions also affect your CDL.

Refusal from alcohol and drug tests affects your CDL

Federal regulations allow testing CDL holders for alcohol and drugs if there is any suspicion of being under the influence, or after an accident where alcohol is suspected to be involved.

If you refuse to take the test, your CDL will be suspended for one year. You may not end up with a DWI conviction, but you will not have your CDL for a year.

You’re going to have to tell your employer about your traffic ticket

It does not matter if it’s a “serious traffic offense” or just a regular one; you have 7 days to report a traffic conviction or DWI conviction to your boss, in writing. So, even a speeding ticket can end up in you losing your job. Employers don’t like drivers who have traffic tickets.

The “point system” is not the same for CDL holders and regular drivers

If you drive a commercial vehicle and get a second conviction within a 3-year period for a serious traffic offense your CDL will be suspended for 60 days, a third conviction within the 3-year period – for 120 days. If you used your commercial vehicle during commission of a felony, your CDL would be suspended for life.

But if you are a regular driver, your license won’t be suspended for two or even three traffic convictions. Maybe you will have to pay surcharges for the accumulated points. It also depends on the “seriousness of traffic offenses”. For example, your regular driver’s license can be suspended for leaving the scene of an accident you were involved in.

By the way, CDL holders are not allowed to take the driver’s education course for dismissal of a traffic citation.

Even if it’s your first DWI, you can’t get your occupational license

If you have a DWI conviction, you’ll be out of work as a commercial driver for a year, guaranteed. A truck driver must be ready for reinstatement fees and surcharges after the suspension for any reason.

But the Class C (operator’s) portion of the driver’s license will only be suspended for the same amount of time as a driver without a CDL. So you’ll be able to drive to work, or to school, like a normal driver, but you won’t be able to operate a commercial vehicle.

Multiple “unserious” tickets spell bad news for your CDL

Even if you never get “serious” driving tickets, receiving multiple tickets can suspend your commercial driver’s license.

The number of tickets which can affect your CDL differs from state to state. To get such information you can consult your CDL Truck Driving School.

For example, in some states, receiving two or more tickets in a six-month time period may result in the temporary suspension of your CDL. Receiving more tickets in a shorter period of time may result in your CDL being permanently revoked.

Your Driving History can affect your driving career significantly

Before hiring you as a truck driver, employers and insurers often look at your driving history. Having one or two tickets over a ten-year period can’t affect your driving career significantly. However, if you consistently receive tickets on an annual basis, you will be found as a reckless driver. It will be difficult for you to obtain employment as a truck driver. Also insurers will decide that you are not worth the risk, and you won’t be able to get insurance for a commercial vehicle.

As a result, it is highly important to follow the rules of the road, whether you are driving a commercial or personal vehicle.

The standards are higher for commercial drivers than for regular drivers because it’s a big responsibility. You must be as careful when driving as possible because one ticket may affect your career and your future. Contact our New Sound Truck Driving School if you want to become a great truck driver!