A clean record helps with getting, keeping your CDL

Jan 21, 2021 | traffic violations for commercial driver's license holders

If you drive a commercial vehicle for a living, protecting your license is a high priority. You may not realize how high the risk is for losing your commercial driver’s license compared to those who hold regular licenses. Because of the added hazard commercial vehicles pose on the road, Ohio and federal laws hold those with CDLs to a much higher standard, imposing harsh and even career-ending penalties for certain offenses.

The last thing you need in the current economy is to lose your CDL, especially if that means losing your job. It is critical that you know the restrictions and rules that can place your CDL on the line and how to avoid those serious consequences for violations.

Moving violations

Qualifying for a CDL in the first place is not always easy. Like many professional licenses, CDL qualifications extend beyond what happens in the cab of your rig. This is why, in addition to protecting the safety of everyone on the road, it is critical to maintain a clean driving record, whether operating a commercial truck or behind the wheel of your personal vehicle. A record of excessive speeding, reckless driving, tailgating or other violations may disqualify you from getting or keeping a CDL.

Rules for the use of alcohol are much stricter for holders of CDLs than for most other drivers. Federal law sets the blood alcohol concentration limit at .04 for commercial drivers, not the usual .08 for other drivers. Additionally, if you face conviction of DUI in your personal vehicle, you may still lose your CDL license. In fact, any moving violation while you are off the clock may have a negative effect on your CDL.

Felonies with a CDL

Felonies related to driving may include repeat DUI convictions, recklessness that results in a fatal accident or using your commercial vehicle in the commission of some other felony. Obviously, these may result in the revocation of your commercial license. However, any felony on your criminal record may minimize your chances of obtaining your CDL or even result in the loss of those privileges, such as:

  • Smuggling
  • Arson
  • Bribery
  • Kidnapping
  • Attempted murder
  • Certain drug crimes

While you may not have such convictions in your past, the loss of your license for other reasons may be just as burdensome. This is why seeking legal counsel as early as possible after a citation for a traffic violation or other charges is a wise first step toward protecting your CDL and your future.