As an attorney representing commercial drivers, my experience through the years has been that CDL holders are held to a higher degree of responsibility. In this regard, violations of the traffic rules and other laws come with more substantial repercussions. Suffice it to say, bigger vehicles come with bigger responsibility as far as road safety is concerned. Commercial truck driving calls for full concentration. These drivers have to contend with dangerous weather conditions, pedestrians, other motorists and sometimes wandering wildlife. The tricky part is that they face all these road hazards while operating large trucks, which are heavy and sometimes carrying dangerous cargo. As evidenced, there is need for commercial drivers to understand various violations and safety tips as I have explained in this article.
CDL Traffic Violations
All commercial drivers should strive to avoid getting a cdl ticket for violations. Tickets have the potential to jeopardize a driving career. Do I need an attorney for a CDL ticket? Below are some of the major violations that should be avoided:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A blood alcohol concentration above .04 is considered a violation.
- Refusing to undergo an alcohol test
- Getting into an accident and fleeing the scene
- Driving when your commercial driver’s license has been suspended, revoked or cancelled
- Negligent or careless driving
- Using a commercial vehicle to commit a crime such as dispensing or distributing controlled substances.
- Following a vehicle too closely (tailgating)
- Changing lanes in an improper manner
- Driving above the speed limit
- Driving a truck without receiving the proper endorsement from a commercial driver’s license body.
A CDL ticket attorney can represent you to avoid a harsher sentence, and help avoid a negative effect on your career as a commercial driver. It is also important for rdivers to understand the repercussion and penalties for the above convictions.
CDL Violation Penalties
- Revocation, cancellation or suspension of a commercial driver’s license. The period of time is contingent on the nature and extent of violation, driving history and previous violations.
- Temporary or permanent job loss. . As a cdl lawyer I have negotiated for my clients to gets a lesser penalty that will not affect their source of livelihood.
- Hefty fines.
- High insurance rates due to the risk the driver carries as a result of the violations.
- Possible jail term based on the nature of the crime.
Commercial drivers who are convicted, or get a cdl ticket are immediately required to inform their employer. I advise my clients to consult with a lawyer before talking to any other party including the insurance company. Again, it is best to be represented by a lawyer who specifically deals with CDL affairs.
Safety should always be the primary concern of every driver. I have complied safety tips that all drivers should adhere to in order to avoid getting tickets and so as not to endanger other motorists.
Always ensure that there is ample space between you and the car in front of you. Studies show that most common commercial truck drivers get into accidents by hitting the vehicle in front. Tailgating should be avoided, remember that the bigger the truck the more time it takes to brake.
- Signal early enough whenever you are approaching an intersection. This will give motorists ample warning and informs them of your intended direction.
- Minimize the number of times you change lanes, with big vehicles, there is more potential for blind spots. You need to keep checking the side mirrors every now and then.
- Commercial drivers need to give enough space and ample times when slowing down or stopping. The brake lights should be used early enough. This is because noncommercial drivers do not always understand that it takes longer to stop a big truck.
- Whenever you are pulled aside or need to stop due to a mechanical failure always use reflective triangles, flashers and road flares to warn approaching drivers.
- During winter ensure to drive with a full tank, this is in order to prevent water condensation that can easily build in the fuel lines.
- Load cargo wisely, drivers should remember that stacking cargo causes the truck to drag. It is advisable to spread the cargo out. This will also help economize on fuel.
- Adjust your speed in bad weather. It is estimated that 25 percent of speed related trucking accidents are as a result of bad weather. Reduce your speed on wet or icy roads. In addition, give yourself ample time to maneuver especially when the road is slippery.
- Drivers must adhere to the driver hour restrictions. In most states, they are not allowed to drive for more than 11 hours continuously.
An integral part of safety is taking care of yourself as a driver. Eat right, get sufficient sleep and stay refreshed when driving. Observing these safety tips and regulations will ensure that you stay on the right side of the law and avoid jeopardizing your career.