What can cause you to lose your CDL? There are a plethora of reasons that can cause this unfortunate event. Things such as breaking the law through traffic violations, among other reasons, can lead to losing a CDL license.
Failing to renew a commercial driver's license (CDL) or violating established regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) along with the state-level departments of transportation will cause you to lose your CDL. The Motor Carrier Management System (MCMIS) keeps a record of your driving history.
Losing your CDL can be career-breaking. Learn what can contribute to the loss of a CDL and how to avoid this.
The commercial driver's license (CDL) program is regulated on a federal level through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The CDL Compliance Division of the FMCSA is responsible for ensuring statewide compliance with federal regulations.
The states themselves are responsible for carrying out the federal regulations set by the FMCSA. However, each state in the union may or may not have additional licensing and certification requirements.
In the state of Florida for example, licensing is awarded and regulated by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) department. The issuance of a CDL along with any special endorsements that may be required is handled on the individual state level.
There are other departments and agencies in the United States that have an influence on a CDL and its requirements. It is critically important to understand who has jurisdiction and where they have it at all times.
Truck drivers operate all over the U.S. and often cross the border into Mexico and Canada if operating near those areas. Rather than have different regulations for in-state or multi-state CDLs, there are a number of higher authorities that can step in as needed.
On a federal level, these agencies include:
These additional agencies all play a part in the regulatory measures associated with holding a clean CDL. Failing to adhere to regulations set by these departments and agencies on the federal or even the state level can cause you to lose your CDL.
Operating a commercial vehicle demands high standards and a vast skill set. It is best to keep yourself up to date with the various rules and regulations created for CDL drivers in your state. Taking the time to review the complete overview from the FMCSA regarding CDL policy is a good habit to develop to avoid missing changes.
Although most states will honor the CDL of a driver from another state, special endorsement certifications are generally required in some states. It is also worth noting that you cannot carry a CDL for more than one state.
Driving commercial vehicles is a massive responsibility. Operating large machinery with a towed trailer can spell disaster if you are not careful or responsible. Driving at or under the posted speed limit is not a suggestion - it's the law.
Getting speeding tickets with a CDL is a surefire way to lose your license. If a court finds you guilty of exceeding posted speed limits there can be serious consequences involved. Ultimately, if you are not careful, you will lose your CDL.
Under the FMCSA, operating a vehicle with a CDL while exceeding 15 mph or more over the posted speed limit will result in a major violation. Additional violations surrounding excessive speeds will have additional repercussions.
Committing additional speeding violations will result in the following:
Since commercial drivers are held to a higher standard, there are other negatives to speeding with a CDL:
Can a speeding ticket affect your CDL? Yes, it will add points on your license known as Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) points which are multiplicative.
Can you lose your CDL for a speeding ticket? Not from one ticket, but depending on how many and how often, yes you can most certainly lose your CDL.
Enough of these speeding occurrences will lead to a CDL's suspension and potential termination. Under CFR 49 part 31150 the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), notifies future employers of your driving record.
This PSP gives employers access to your driving history electronically. The information found within your PSP profile is made available by the FMCSA and is part of a larger collective known as the Motor Carrier Management System (MCMIS).
Just like a speeding ticket, reckless driving is a serious offense when operating with a CDL. So how does reckless driving affect your CDL? Similar to speeding, reckless driving can result in license suspension.
Just like speeding violations, reckless driving will result in the following:
Reckless driving leads to tragic outcomes like deadly crashes and fatalities. Ultimately, this type of moving violation is regarded as a felony disqualification regarding getting or keeping a CDL. Properly managing stress can help avoid reckless driving in any event.
The irresponsible operation of a large motor vehicle is taken very seriously by both the FMCSA and your state’s DOT. The level of damage or injury that can come from a large vehicle can be catastrophic, which is why the regulations for CDL drivers are in place.
If you obtain a felony charge from reckless driving or any other related charge, you will lose or be prohibited from maintaining or obtaining your CDL. For those who have special endorsement certifications, a felony reckless driving charge will result in the loss of those additional certifications.
There are a lot of questions that surround drunk driving charges and CDLs. According to the FMCSA, it is prohibited to consume alcoholic beverages four hours prior to driving a truck with a CDL.
In the event that alcohol was consumed, the legal limit cannot exceed a 0.4% blood alcohol level. This restriction does not just revolve around driving the vehicle but also other operations involving a driver’s attention.
Across the various states, the laws surrounding DUI convictions are almost identical. Typically, there are several factors that can lead to a DUI conviction regardless of which state you are operating in at the time of conviction.
Some questions to ask regarding a CDL and drunk driving
Drunk driving is a serious offense, regardless of whether t it’s private or commercial driving. However, the rules are far more strict and the consequences more severe when it comes to alcohol and commercial driving.
The whole idea of drunk driving is terrifying enough on its own. When you add the variables of a truck with a loaded trailer, an accident will be extremely severe. That is why the laws surrounding a DUI are substantially tougher on truck drivers.
The FMCSA funded a study through the University of Pennsylvania to determine the effects of sleep apnea and over-the-road commercial truck driving. The researchers at Penn found that nearly 28% of all registered truck drivers with a CDL have sleep apnea conditions.
Some relevant questions surrounding sleep apnea and truck driving
Can you have a CDL with sleep apnea? Yes, you can hold a CDL even if you have sleep apnea. The FMCSA does not have specific regulations surrounding sleep apnea by name. However, you will be declared medically unfit to drive if it goes without treatment.
Can you lose your CDL if you have sleep apnea? You can potentially lose or have your CDL suspended if you are affected by sleep apnea. However, once you’re seen by a physician and are successfully treated you can regain it.
It is essential that you provide notification of your condition to the carrier you work for or a carrier that you applied with for work. Operating heavy equipment with a chronic condition like sleep apnea, no matter the severity level is a risk to yourself and those around you.
A medical professional can and will treat your condition. Once treatment is ongoing or concluded, a medical provider can sign off on your fitness level regarding driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and your employer can be notified as such and make a determination if you can drive.
There are other serious CDL traffic violations to consider when thinking about ways you could lose your CDL. As it was mentioned beforehand, operating a CMV has more responsibility attached to it and a commitment level to safety that is unshakable.
Some areas where your CDL can be in jeopardy of suspension or permanent loss include:
There are even offenses so severe that they automatically will cause a lifetime loss of your CDL. If you are involved in human trafficking of any kind or transport drugs or other controlled substances, this will also lead to a permanent ban on obtaining or keeping your CDL.
At this point, it is blatantly obvious that you can lose your CDL in a number of ways both short and long-term. Losing a CDL to any of the traffic offenses listed can be a serious problem that will have lasting effects on your career.
It takes hard work and dedication to be an over-the-road commercial truck driver and a lot of personal sacrifices. Keeping a CDL in good standing though, is not a monumental task, in fact, it’s actually a snap.
Take these six simple steps to keep your CDL intact.
Getting your commercial driver's license is a big deal, and keeping it is an even bigger one. Follow these six simple steps and keep your license in your pocket and your career in front of you.
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