20 Tips: What is a Serious Violation for Commercial Driver License Tickets? | Law Office of James Medows

20 Jun 20 Tips: What is a Serious Violation for Commercial Driver License Tickets?

20 Tips: What is a Serious Violation for Commercial Driver License Tickets?

Driving a truck in New York requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL). If you are a commercial driver, then you have probably heard about serious traffic violations, but what are they? With the help of ny-defense.com, this article will look to answer this question and then some.

Serious traffic violations

CDL holders are held to a stricter standard than drivers with regular licenses as is revealed in discussions on the same over at ny-defense.com. This means that offenses that are usually considered run-of-the-mill traffic tickets for regular drivers are classified as “serious traffic violations”, resulting in cumulative disqualifications.

Which violations are considered to be serious traffic violations in New York?

In New York, the following traffic violations are considered serious traffic violations:


Erratic/improper lane changes

Speeding 15+ mph over the posted speed limit

Reckless driving

Driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) without a CDL

Driving a CMV without a CDL currently in possession

Driving a CMV without the appropriate class of CDL

Committing a traffic violation that is directly related to a fatality

Will a first-time serious traffic violation conviction lead to suspension?

No. According to ny-defense.com, a first-time serious traffic violation doesn’t result in the suspension of your license. You have to be convicted of two separate serious traffic violations over 3 years for your CDL to be suspended.

The convictions can’t be from the same stop

It is also important to note that the convictions must be the result of two separate incidents for s suspension to come into play. Therefore, if the two violations happen at the same time, like say a CDL holder is pulled over and the officer issues a ticket for speeding and another for an unsafe lane change, then this single traffic stop will only be counted as one serious traffic violation.

Consequences of convictions of serious traffic violations

Potential driver’s license suspensions

Two serious traffic violation convictions within 3 years (not arising from the same incident) will lead to a 60-day license suspension for commercial drivers. Drivers lose their CDLs for 120 days if they receive three serious traffic violation convictions within three years.

Insurance rate increases

When you are convicted of any of these serious traffic violations, your auto insurance provider may increase your insurance premiums exponentially as they will say that you are an increased risk as discussed at ny-defense.com. Under New York State law, your insurance rates may remain high for up to 3 years.

Points, fines, and NYS DMV DRA surcharges

You will also have to deal with points assessed on your driver’s record, fines, as well as the New York State DMV Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA) fee, which you will have to pay if you accumulate 6 points within 18 months.

Possible loss of your job

If you get your license suspended as a result of two or three serious traffic violation convictions in three years, you will be unable to legally drive a CMV. This means that your employer is likely to terminate your employment as is revealed in discussions on the same at ny-defense.com.

These are some of the consequences that can befall you if you are convicted of a serious traffic violation.

Will these penalties apply across state lines?

Commercial driving frequently involves crossing state lines. This is why CDL holders must realize that the license suspensions that come with serious traffic violation convictions apply whether the violations occur out of state, as well as within New York State.

Individual states can expand on serious traffic violations

While federal law applies to all states, individual states can – and often do – add violations to the list of serious traffic violations that are mandated by federal law. Some common violations that states define as serious violations include failure to render aid (hit-and-run) and possessing alcohol in a commercial vehicle.

Major traffic violations

Other than serious traffic violations, there are those traffic violations for commercial drivers that are considered “major traffic violations”, which are more serious and come with heavier penalties as per discussions on the same at ny-defense.com, including immediate disqualifications.

Which violations are considered major traffic violations?

Major violations, in New York, include:

Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance

Refusing a chemical test

Leaving the scene of an accident

Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony

Driving a CMV while revoked/suspended/canceled

Negligently causing a CMV-related fatality

Penalties for major traffic violations

Here, you won’t get two strikes as is the case for serious traffic violations as a first-time conviction of a major traffic violation will result in an automatic 1-year disqualification of your CDL. A second major traffic violation conviction results in a lifetime disqualification as per ny-defense.com.

Reinstatement after a lifetime disqualification

In many states, you may be eligible for reinstatement after 10 years after you receive a lifetime disqualification unless you were convicted of using a CMV for human trafficking or illegally manufacture, distribute, and dispense a controlled substance.

Individual states can expand on major traffic violations

As is the case for serious traffic violations, individual states can also expand on the federal definition of major violations and also include offenses such as fleeing and eluding an officer and vehicular manslaughter. In some states, registered sex offenders can’t drive passenger or school bus CMVs.

Specialized rules

While CMV operators are subject to all the standard rules of the road, they are additionally subject to special rules related to a railroad crossing and temporary “out-of-service orders” as covered at ny-defense.com. Failing to properly stop or obey railroad signs a 60-, 120-, or 365-day CDL revocation for a first, second, or third violation respectively. Law enforcement can issue an out-of-service order for certain safety violations, which temporarily prohibits the driver from operating a CMV.

Mistakes to avoid when you receive any of these citations

Failure to read your ticket and CDL citation

All CDL citations have useful information printed on them that is designed to help you go through the process of paying or fighting the CDL citation in court. The most important info to find in your ticket as soon as you get it is the court date. Don’t stuff the ticket in your glove compartment and forget about it when you receive it.

Admitting guilt

This is two-fold. First of all, you want to fight a CSL citation rather than simply paying the ticket and admitting guilt. Remember, any chance you have to keep points off your license and avoid risking your livelihood, take it. An experienced CDL lawyer like ny-defense.com will help you fight your ticket. Secondly, don’t verbally admit guilt either. If an officer asks you, “Do you know how fast you were going?”, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”, or “Did you see that stop sign?”, it is best to play dumb.

Don’t leave the scene

Lots of truck drivers have been slapped with a “Fleeing the Scene of an Accident” charge when all they were trying to do was move their truck out of the way of traffic. You don’t want to leave any gray area when it comes to an accident. Therefore, if you get in an accident, stay put until told to move by an officer.

Be polite to the officer

Finally, you should always make sure you remain polite and respectful to the officer who pulled you over. While this may seem like a no-brainer, sometimes you may feel like the officer isn’t treating you too well. However, remain respectful at all times, hand them your license when they ask for it while making sure you don’t admit guilt verbally.

If you have been slapped with a serious or major traffic violation ticket, then don’t hesitate to reach out to ny-defense.com for assistance on your ticket.