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CDL Driver Disqualification

Last Updated: Mar 28, 2017

What New Drivers Need To Know About CDL Driver Disqualifications:

The FMCSA regulations specify certain circumstances that will disqualify a driver from legally operating a CMV , temporarily or permanently.

Issues resulting in disqualification apply only to CDL or CLP holders, or those required to have a CLP or CDL in the vehicle they are operating. Tickets, DUI or DWI , and other legal issues that happened before a driver was issued a CDL or CLP , or to non-CDL or CLP holders, who were not required to have one, will affect drivers only as far as company policy, with the exception of getting the Hazmat endorsement. In other words, non-CDL holders who got tickets or DUI-DWI in non-commercial vehicles are not covered by FMCSA regulations.

See Also: TSA Disqualifying Offenses & Factors

In extreme cases, the FMCSA may disqualify drivers deemed to be an "imminent hazard", and remove them from the road.

See Also: Disqualification of drivers determined to constitute an imminent hazard.

Some circumstances will result in a lifetime disqualification from operating CMV's, with some being eligible for reinstatement after 10 years. A driver who uses a CMV in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance is disqualified for life with no possibility of reinstatement.

CDL Driver Disqualification For Major Offenses:

Reinstatement after lifetime disqualification:

A driver disqualified for life for major offenses listed below MAY be reinstated by the State after 10 years, provided that person has voluntarily entered and completed the appropriate state-approved rehabilitation program.

Any driver reinstated after a lifetime disqualification who is subsequently convicted of another major offense cannot be reinstated again.

If a CDL or CLP driver operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of:

  • Being under the influence of alcohol as prescribed by State law.
  • Being under the influence of a controlled substance.
  • Having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater while operating a CMV.
  • Refusing to take an alcohol test as required by a State or jurisdiction under its implied consent laws or regulations
  • Leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Using the vehicle to commit a felony, other than felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance.

Disqualification from driving a CMV is as follows:

  • 1 Year:

    For the first conviction or test refusal while operating either a CMV or non-CMV.

  • 3 Years:

    For the first conviction or test refusal while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials.

  • Life, Eligible For Possible 10-Year Reinstatement:

    For second conviction or test refusal for combination of any major offenses while operating either a CMV or non-CMV.

If a CDL or CLP driver operates a commercial motor vehicle and is convicted of:

  • Driving a CMV when, as a result of prior violations committed operating a CMV, the driver's CLP or CDL is revoked, suspended, or canceled, or the driver is disqualified from operating a CMV or,
  • Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV, including but not limited to the crimes of motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle and negligent homicide.

Disqualification from driving a CMV is as follows:

  • 1 Year:

    For the first conviction or test refusal while operating a CMV.

  • 3 Years:

    For the first conviction or test refusal while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials.

  • Life, Eligible For Possible 10-Year Reinstatement:

    For second conviction or test refusal for combination of any major offenses while operating a CMV.

Lifetime Disqualification From Operating A CMV, With No Possibility Of Reinstatement:

Any driver convicted of using either a CMV or a non-CMV in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing of a controlled substance will be permanently disqualified from operating a CMV for life, with no chance of being reinstated. Ever.

CDL Driver Disqualification For Serious Traffic Violations:

If a CDL or CLP driver operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of:

  • Speeding excessively, involving any speed of 15 mph or more above the regulated or posted speed limit.
  • Driving recklessly, as defined by State or local law or regulation.
  • Making improper or erratic traffic lane changes.
  • Following the vehicle ahead too closely.
  • Violating State or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control.

Disqualification from driving a CMV is as follows:

  • 60 Days:

    For a second conviction of any serious traffic violations within a 3-year period in a CMV, or in a non-CMV that results in suspension or revocation of the driver's non-CMV license.

  • 120 Days:

    For a third or subsequent conviction of any serious traffic violations within a 3-year period in a CMV, or in a non-CMV that results in suspension or revocation of the driver's non-CMV license.

If a CDL or CLP driver operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of:

  • Driving a CMV without obtaining a CLP or CDL.
  • Driving a CMV without a CLP or CDL in the driver's possession and failing to provide proof otherwise by court date.
  • Driving a CMV without the proper class of CLP or CDL and/or endorsements for the specific vehicle group being operated or for the passengers or type of cargo being transported.
  • Violating a State or local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control prohibiting texting while driving a CMV
  • Violating a State or local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control restricting or prohibiting the use of a hand-held mobile telephone while driving a CMV.

Disqualification from driving a CMV is as follows:

  • 60 Days:

    For a second conviction of any serious traffic violations within a 3-year period in a CMV.

  • 120 Days:

    For a third or subsequent conviction of any serious traffic violations within a 3-year period in a CMV.

CDL Driver Disqualification For Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Offenses:

Drivers can be disqualified if they are convicted of operating a CMV in violation of a Federal, State or local law because:

  • The driver is not required to always stop, but fails to slow down and check that tracks are clear of an approaching train.
  • The driver is not required to always stop, but fails to stop before reaching the crossing, if the tracks are not clear.
  • The driver is always required to stop, but fails to stop before driving onto the crossing.
  • The driver fails to have sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping.
  • The driver fails to obey a traffic control device or the directions of an enforcement official at the crossing.
  • The driver fails to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance.

Violations involving railroad crossings all carry the same disqualification penalties for first, second, and subsequent offenses.

  • First conviction: At least 60 days disqualification from driving a CMV .
  • Second conviction, within 3 years: At least 120 days disqualification.
  • Third and subsequent convictions: At least one year disqualification.

CDL Driver Disqualification For Violations Of Out-Of-Service Orders:

An out-of-service order stipulates that a CDL or CLP holder not drive a commercial vehicle for a certain period of time, or until such time as they are re-instated to service.

In addition to disqualification, drivers who violate out-of-service orders will be fined a civil penalty of at least $2,500 for the first offense, and $5,000 for any additional offenses.

  • Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting nonhazardous materials:

    • First conviction: At least 180 days, up to a year disqualification from driving a CMV .
    • Second conviction within 10 years: At least 2 years, up to 5 years disqualification.
    • Third and subsequent convictions, within 10 years: At least 3 years, up to 5 years disqualification.

  • Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting hazardous materials, or passenger vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers:

    • First conviction: At least 180 days, up to 2 years disqualification from driving a CMV .
    • Second conviction within 10 years: At least 3 years, up to 5 years disqualification.
    • Third conviction and more, within 10 years: At least 3 years, up to 5 years disqualification.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Commercial Motor Vehicle:

A commercial motor vehicle is any vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers or property with either:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more which includes a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
  • CSA:

    Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

    The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

    FMCSA:

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

    The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

    What Does The FMCSA Do?

    • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
    • Data and Analysis
    • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
    • Research and Technology
    • Safety Assistance
    • Support and Information Sharing

    DOT:

    Department Of Transportation

    A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

    State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

    CMV:

    Commercial Motor Vehicle

    A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

    • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
    • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
    • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
    • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
    • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

    Fm:

    Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

    The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

    HOS:

    Hours Of Service

    HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

    DUI:

    Driving Under the Influence

    DWI:

    Driving While Intoxicated

    OWI:

    Operating While Intoxicated

    Out-of-Service:

    When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

    OOS:

    When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

    CLP:

    Commercial Learner's Permit

    Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

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