Obtaining a commercial driver’s license can open many doors. It requires some specialized training, but you do not need a college degree, and in some cases, you may not even need a high school diploma. What you do need, however, is a clean driving record. Once you obtain your CDL, it is important that you maintain that clean record by taking great care to exercise all caution and safety on the road.
Tractor-trailers and other big trucks present tremendous risk to other drivers. The slightest errors from large commercial vehicle operators may result in accidents causing injury or loss of life. Just like your regular driver’s license, your CDL may be suspended for certain moving violations. However, because of this greater risk, the potential for having your CDL suspended is much higher, and the threshold for excusable mistakes is much lower. Losing your CDL, even for a temporary suspension, can be a devastating financial blow to you and your family.
Your violations follow you wherever you go
Do not believe that what happens outside Ohio stays outside Ohio. On the contrary, any infractions or violations you face in other states will transfer home to your CDL record. Therefore, you cannot expect to just move to another state and start fresh as a commercial driver. On the other hand, Ohio will also alert the home states of out-of-state truckers who violate the law as they are passing through. Any of the following may result in at least a one-year suspension of your CDL:
- Reckless driving that results in an accident
- Leaving the scene of an accident, even in your own vehicle
- Using a vehicle to commit a felony, such as transporting drugs
- Driving your commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or higher
- Driving any passenger vehicle with a BAC of .08 or otherwise impaired
- Refusing to submit to a breath or blood test after an arrest for DUI/OVI
- Violating railroad crossings
A second offense for any of these may result in a lifetime suspension of your CDL, which can effectively end your career as a commercial driver. Additionally, certain traffic violations accumulate to result in license suspension, such as speeding, tailgating, driving without your CDL or operating a CDL class for which you do not have a license. While other drivers may end up with fines and a few points, your CDL places you under intense scrutiny, and you are less likely to get off with a warning.