Seven Situations That Threaten Your CDL

All truck drivers get behind the wheels in order to secure their livelihoods. Even a single ticket can affect their driving career and threaten their Commercial Driving License. Its always best to have safe driving practices. Adhering to traffic rules and abiding by the regulations imposed by the Department Of Transportation is a practice that protects truck drivers from road mishaps and blunders.

It’s important to know what threatens your driving record, in order to have a good driving record. Here is a list of all those things that threaten your CDL. Knowing the threats will help you avoid them, so read on…

1. TICKETS

Tickets happen.

Not everyone who is charged with a ticket is guilty but sometimes when we don’t have any control over the situation, things happen. But it is always advisable to be careful and to avoid those tickets.

Types of Tickets

The consequences on the driver will depend on the type of traffic ticket he received. While a few offenses disqualify your CDL and prevent you from applying for one again, others might not have such serious consequences.

The offenses that are serious to disqualify your license are:

  • Committing manslaughter with a vehicle
  • Causing a fatality through negligent operation of vehicle
  • Using a commercial vehicle to commit a felony
  • Driving with an above-accepted limit of blood alcohol level (.04% or higher)
  • Leaving the scene of an accident

Offenses of lesser consequences are as follows:

  • Going a little above the speed limit
  • Parking incorrectly

However, these might become a problem if you get multiple tickets for the same offense over a certain period of time.

Multiple Tickets

While not getting serious offense tickets is something that is good, getting multiple tickets for the same minor offenses will spell bad news for your CDL. To stay out of the woods, it is better to read your CDL book properly and understand the time period and number of tickets that will cause disqualification.

In certain states, getting two or more tickets within a six month period can lead to the suspension of the driver’s CDL. More tickets in a shorter time period can result in the CDL being permanently revoked.

Parking Tickets

Parking spaces are tricky, especially when your truck exceeds the limit allowed to park near certain special zones. It is advised to park the truck and make stops at resting lanes designated for truckers. Getting multiple tickets can end up harming your CDL, which in turn will affect your livelihood. There is a higher risk of parking ticket being issued in school zones, fire hazard zones and other speciality areas. Parking near a motel or a food joint for a quick bite might sound easy but it’s not worth having a ticket on your record.

2. Driving Patterns and History

When employment and insurance decisions are being made, employers and insurers often look at your driving history. If you have one or two tickets over a ten-year period, they are not likely to affect your driving career significantly. However, if you consistently receive tickets on an annual basis, this may indicate to employers that you are a reckless driver. Even worse, insurers may decide that you are not worth the risk, leaving you unable to get insurance for a commercial vehicle.

It is extremely important to follow the rules of the road and always be aware of the speed limits when you are driving. If you are found to be a risky or reckless driver, you may have difficulty obtaining employment as a truck driver. Though you may technically keep your commercial driver’s license, you may not be able to use it in your employment.

Driving a commercial vehicle is a big responsibility. That is why qualifying standards are higher for driving commercial vehicles than for driving personal vehicles. Though one ticket may not affect your driver’s license, it is totally worth your career, and your license, to be as careful as possible while driving.

3. Overweight

It may seem lucrative to haul more cargo than the permitted amount. But the law is placed there for a reason. Sure, you know the capabilities of your truck but that does not give you a permit to haul more than the allowed limit. When you are on the road, the safety measures are not only for your truck but for all the vehicles that go through the same road. Getting a ticket for overweight cargo shows that you are an ignorant trucker and this can have a negative effect on your CDL.

4. Lane Indiscipline

Lane discipline might not sound cool, but lane discipline is what marks you apart from other drivers. It keeps you and other drivers away from any potential crash. Maintaining your lane during traffic and signaling well before changing the lane is something as crucial as any other important driving skill.

Violation of this rule can result in a sudden change of lane, which can startle a fellow driver and can result in a crash or a traffic gridlock. Lane violation ticket indicates that you have less respect for fellow drivers and can threaten your livelihood. This can pose an even greater threat when taking a two-way road where the vehicles rely upon signals from both sides of the road front and back.

5. Speeding

Speeding with trucks is rare, given the responsibility and nature of taking cargo and delivering it undamaged. But if any chance of speeding is detected and ticket is issued, then the trust over the driver and his reputation goes down (irrespective of the number of years of service). Even if the delivery gets delayed, speeding is not an option to prove the time limit.

The risks that arise due to speeding are not just tickets. A potential threat to life, cargo and other drivers on the road must be taken into account while speeding.

6. Logbook Violation

Paper logbook records or electronic logs are maintained by the truck driver. If the driver is required to keep paper logbooks, they must be securely kept in the truck before the truck hits the road.

Logbooks must be maintained periodically throughout the journey. It is important for truck drivers to constantly stay in contact with the employer and customer. Any delays or changes in planned schedule can contribute to a logbook violation if not followed properly.

The driver must pick-up and carry records of the goods being transported, in the event of a D.O.T. roadside inspection and when crossing international borders. Especially for the owner-operator, retaining receipts and accurate records are very important. Income tax returns depend on sound record keeping. Truckers can claim various expenses on their tax returns but need proper records for back-up.

7. Cell Phone Use

Due to new legislation, cell phone laws are changing and drivers will be forbidden to use any hand-held devices while driving. This means that the driver should make occasional pit stops to call and inform their dispatchers.

Negligence can be extremely costly on the road, especially for Commercial Motor Vehicle drivers. The size, weight and nature of materials that are transported using commercial vehicles pose a great threat for everybody driving on the road. Also, maneuvering the CMVs is way difficult that using non-commercial vehicles. These factors make the traffic laws and their enforcement extremely stringent. A little distraction or error while driving can cause a trucker his career. Suspension of  CDL might be troublesome for the driver, but it’s a blessing for other drivers as faulty drivers can cause serious mishaps on the road.

If you have a CDL and you wish to maintain a clean driving record, protect your driving career by protecting your CDL. Just follow the laws and you shall do fine.

We wish you a great driving career ahead!

 

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