A Commercial Driver License (CDL) is required by New York State to drive a vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds, vehicles accommodating 15 or more passengers, including buses, and any vehicle used to transport hazardous material.
A CDL is only necessary when the above types of vehicles are used for a commercial or business purpose, and not a personal purpose. For example, that is why a CDL is not required in order to drive a big U-Haul truck loaded with your personal belongings.
CDL Suspensions Put Your Job at Risk
Persons employed as commercial drivers depend on keeping their CDL in order to earn a livelihood and keep their job. Commercial drivers risk losing their license for 60 days if they are convicted of two “serious traffic violations” within 3 a year period, while operating a commercial vehicle. It is important to note that the convictions must be the result of two separate incidents. If the two violations happen at the same time, the 60-day suspension will not be applied. If a commercial driver is convicted of 3 serious traffic violations during a 3-year period, the result is that the suspension will be increased to 120 days.
Commercial driving frequently involves crossing state lines, and it is imperative that CDL holders realize that the above license suspensions apply whether the violations occur out-of-state as well as within New York State.
Which Violations are considered a serious traffic violation?
CDL holders are held to a stricter standard than drivers with regular licenses. Offenses that are usually considered run of the mill traffic tickets for regular drivers are classified as “serious traffic violations” for commercial drivers.
The following offenses are examples of those considered serious traffic violations:
- Speeding by 15 miles or above
- Unsafe lane changes
- Traffic violations involving a fatal traffic accident
- driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL
Certain offense will result in losing your CDL for an entire year, or 3 years in when transporting hazardous materials. These offenses include:
- Driving a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .04% or higher (half the usual legal limit)
- refusal to undergo blood alcohol testing
- leaving the scene of an accident
- operating a commercial vehicle with a revoked, suspended, or canceled CDL.
- committing a felony involving the use of a vehicle
Although the general rule is that traffic offenses committed while driving your personal vehicles do not affect your CDL, there are a few notable exceptions to that rule. Convictions for leaving the scene of an accident, violations related to alcohol and drug and felonies involving a motor vehicle will result in a one year suspension of your CDL for a first offense and lifetime CDL ban for a second offense, not mention the applicable points on your personal drivers license.
Commercial drivers who have been ticketed are strongly advised not to risk suspension or revocation of your CDL by seeking the representation of a competent attorney to advocate for your rights.
Attorney Adam H. Rosenblum is an experienced and skilled traffic violations attorney and provides expert and aggressive representation to commercial driver facing points on their driver’s license and the associated fines and surcharges.