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Common Traffic Violations for CDL Holders

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders operate under strict regulations due to the nature and size of the vehicles they drive and the potential risk posed to public safety. Understanding common traffic violations for CDL holders is crucial not only for maintaining their licensing status but also for ensuring road safety. Whether it's long-haul truckers or local delivery drivers, the consequences of traffic violations can be significantly more severe than for ordinary motorists.

Given the severe implications of traffic violations on professional drivers, it’s important for CDL holders to stay informed and compliant with all traffic laws. If you are a CDL holder facing traffic violation charges, or if you simply want to understand better the legal expectations and how to protect your license, our Lake County traffic lawyers are here to help.

We can provide advice and defense strategies tailored to the unique needs of commercial drivers. Contact us today at (847) 999-7616 to schedule a consultation and ensure that your livelihood is protected.

What Are the Most Common Traffic Violations Committed by CDL Holders?

Commercial Driver's License (CDL) holders are held to higher standards on the road due to the potential risks involved with operating large vehicles like trucks and buses.

Despite rigorous training and regulations, CDL holders do commit traffic violations, some of which are more common than others. Here are several frequent traffic violations seen among CDL holders:

  1. Speeding: Given the tight schedules under which many commercial drivers operate, speeding is a common issue. It poses significant dangers, especially considering the mass and handling characteristics of large vehicles.
  2. Failure to Obey Traffic Control Devices: This includes running red lights or stop signs, which can be particularly hazardous due to the increased stopping distances required for larger vehicles.
  3. Improper Lane Changes: Commercial vehicles need more space to maneuver, and unsafe lane changes without proper signaling or checking blind spots can lead to serious accidents.
  4. Hours of Service Violations: There are strict regulations on how many hours a commercial driver can operate without rest. Violating these rules can lead to drowsy driving, which increases the risk of accidents.
  5. Logbook Violations: CDL drivers are required to keep accurate records of their driving times and breaks. Falsifying this logbook to cover up hours of service violations is a common and serious offense.
  6. Overloading: Operating a vehicle that exceeds weight limits not only subjects the driver to fines but also increases the risk of mechanical failures like tire blowouts or brake failures.
  7. Distracted Driving: While all drivers can be distracted, the consequences can be more severe for CDL holders. Using a mobile phone, even with hands-free technology, can lead to significant penalties.
  8. Following Too Closely: Given that larger vehicles require more stopping distance, tailgating can lead to accidents, especially in heavy traffic or adverse weather conditions.
  9. Improper Vehicle Maintenance: Failing to maintain the vehicle, including regular checks on brakes, tires, lights, and other critical systems, can lead to citations and even accidents.
  10. Driving Under the Influence: While DUI laws apply to all drivers, CDL holders face stricter blood alcohol content limits (typically 0.04% compared to 0.08% for regular drivers). The penalties can include immediate suspension of their CDL.
a CDL holder driving a truck

These violations not only pose risks on the road but can also lead to the loss of a CDL, which is vital for the livelihood of commercial drivers. It’s crucial for CDL holders to adhere to all traffic regulations and operate their vehicles safely and responsibly.

What Happens to Your Cdl After a Traffic Violation in Illinois?

In Illinois, traffic violations can have serious implications for a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) holder, potentially affecting their ability to legally operate commercial vehicles. The law adheres to strict standards set by both state and federal regulations, ensuring that CDL drivers are held to higher accountability due to the inherent risks associated with operating larger vehicles. Here's what happens when a CDL holder commits a traffic violation in Illinois:

The Severity of the Violation

The impact on a CDL depends on the severity of the traffic violation. Minor offenses might result in fines and points on your license, whereas major offenses can lead to more severe penalties, including suspension or revocation of the CDL.

Points System

Illinois uses a traffic points system that adds points to a driver's record for violations. If a CDL holder accumulates too many points, it can lead to the suspension of their CDL. The number of points depends on the severity of the violation.

Major Violations

These include DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), refusing a sobriety test, leaving the scene of an accident, and using a vehicle in the commission of a felony. Major violations can lead to the immediate suspension or revocation of a CDL. For example, a DUI or refusing a sobriety test will result in a one-year disqualification for a first offense and a lifetime disqualification for a second offense.

Serious Traffic Violations

These include excessive speeding (15 mph or more above the speed limit), reckless driving, erratic lane changes, following too closely, and any traffic violation involving a fatality. Multiple serious violations can lead to the suspension of a CDL.

For instance, two serious violations within three years can lead to a minimum 60-day disqualification, and three serious violations within three years can lead to a minimum 120-day disqualification.

Railroad Crossing Violations

These are critical for CDL holders. A violation at a railroad crossing can lead to a disqualification of a CDL for at least 60 days on the first violation, 120 days for a second violation within three years, and one year for a third violation within three years.

a photo of a railroad crossing

Out-of-Service Orders

Violating an out-of-service order can result in a disqualification of 90 days to one year for a first violation, one to five years for a second violation within ten years, and three to five years for three or more violations within ten years.

Notification Requirements

CDL holders must notify their employer within 30 days of any traffic violation conviction, regardless of the type of vehicle they were driving at the time of the offense.

Impact on Employment

Given the strict regulations and the potential for disqualification or suspension of a CDL, traffic violations can severely impact a CDL holder’s current and future employment opportunities in commercial driving.

For CDL holders, it’s crucial to maintain a clean driving record. If you are facing a traffic violation as a CDL holder in Illinois, it is advisable to consult with a lawyer who works with traffic law and CDL regulations to potentially mitigate the consequences and protect your driving privileges.

Need Help With a Moving Violation on Your CDL?

Navigating the landscape of CDL regulations and managing the repercussions of traffic violations require a nuanced understanding of both state and federal laws. For commercial drivers, maintaining a clean driving record is not just about personal responsibility—it's essential for safeguarding their livelihood.

Traffic violations can lead to severe consequences, including hefty fines, points on your license, and even the suspension or revocation of your CDL. These penalties not only affect your ability to work but also have long-term implications for your professional reputation and financial stability.

Given these high stakes, seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney is crucial. A skilled lawyer can provide invaluable assistance, from negotiating lesser penalties and exploring possible defenses to representing you in administrative hearings or traffic court proceedings. They understand the complexities of the legal system and can effectively advocate for your best interests, aiming to minimize the impact of any violations on your CDL.

If you are a CDL holder facing traffic violations or concerns about your driving record, do not hesitate to reach out. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us help you protect your license and your future on the road.

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