20 Jun 20 Tips Will a Traffic Ticket Affect Your Truck Driving Career?
20 Tips Will a Traffic Ticket Affect Your Truck Driving Career?
If you are a commercial driver you know that you have to be extra vigilant when on the road as a traffic ticket could affect the status of your license, and consequently, your career. With the help of the excellent ny-defense.com, this article will look to discuss if and how a traffic ticket will affect your truck driving career.
It depends on the severity
The severity of your consequences will depend on the type of traffic ticket you will receive according to ny-defense.com. Some tickets may not have serious consequences (such as parking incorrectly, speeding a little bit, etc.), while others may disqualify you from keeping a CDL and from ever applying for one ever again (such as leaving the scene of an accident, using a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony, etc.)
A traffic ticket affects your CDL even if you are in your personal vehicle
While the general rule is that traffic offenses committed while driving one’s personal vehicle don’t affect a CDL, there are some notable exceptions to this rule. Convictions for leaving the scene of an accident, violations related to drugs and alcohol, and felonies involving a motor vehicle will lead to a 1-year suspension of a CDL for a first-time offense.
The suspension will be worse if you transport hazardous materials
If you were convicted of the violations mentioned in the previous point, the suspension of a first-time offense will increase to three years if you operated a hazardous materials commercial vehicle as discussed at ny-defense.com.
Refusal from alcohol and drug tests affects your CDL
Federal regulations allow testing CDL holders for alcohol and drugs if there is any suspicion of being under the influence, or after an accident where alcohol is suspected to be involved. If you refuse to take the test, your CDL will be suspended for one year, and while you may not end up with a DWI conviction, you will not have your CDL for a year.
You are going to have to tell your employer about your traffic ticket
By law, a commercial driver must report any traffic convictions to his/her employer within 30 days. The driver is not required to inform the employer of a traffic ticket until he/she has been convicted or pleads guilty (which happens when one pays a ticket). Since employers don’t like drivers who have traffic tickets, even a speeding ticket can lead to you losing your job.
Company policy may mean that you have to report a ticket even if not convicted
While the driver is not required to inform the employer of a traffic ticket until he/she has been convicted or pleads guilty, some companies have a policy in place that requires drivers to report any tickets issued, regardless of whether you have been convicted or have pled guilty or not as covered at ny-defense.com. This means that you may end up losing your job even if your ticket ends up being dismissed.
Serious traffic violations
If you drive a commercial vehicle, you risk losing your license for 60-days if you are convicted of two “serious traffic violations” within 3 years while operating a CMV. These serious violations include tailgating, speeding 15+ mph over the posted limit, unsafe lane changes, traffic violations involving a fatal traffic accident, driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL, etc. A 3rd conviction for a serious traffic violation during the 3 years will lead to the suspension being increased to 120 days.
The point system still applies
You can still get your CDL suspended even if you don’t commit a serious or major traffic violation. This is because the point system still applies to commercial drivers as it does to regular drivers. In New York, this means that if you accrue 11 points within 18 months, then your license may be suspended as per ny-defense.com.
Traffic school is unlikely to help you
Traffic school, if it all it is allowed, is not likely to help commercial drivers avoid a suspension or revocation of the CDL. Federal CDL requirements look only at the number of convictions within 3 years, and since traffic schools do not change or eliminate those convictions, it is not likely to help commercial drivers avoid a suspension of the CDL.
No occupational license
If a non-commercial driver loses their privilege to drive, they will be eligible for an occupational or restricted use license to get to or from work. When a commercial driver loses their privilege to drive, they will not be eligible for such a license to drive a commercial vehicle. Therefore, while you may be able to drive to and from work or school like a normal driver, you won’t be able to operate a commercial vehicle with such a license.
How traffic tickets can affect your driving career
As already discussed, and covered over at ny-defense.com, there are lots of scenarios in which a traffic ticket can lead to a suspension or revocation. This will lead to an inability to drive a CMV, which will likely lead to your employer terminating you if you can’t perform your duties as a truck driver.
Insurance coverage at the job
Insurance companies will increase premiums if a driver is convicted of a serious traffic offense. When the business pays the premiums, the employer may end up firing the driver as they may feel like the driver has become too expensive to keep around.
Conviction of traffic violation
If the conviction of a citation leads to more penalties than simply paying for the ticket, the company could terminate the driver as articulated at ny-defense.com. The company may feel like the employee is too much of a hassle to keep around given the penalties they have accrued.
Some employers have an employment contract with provisions that specify that no felony or misdemeanor convictions should happen during time with the company. If you are convicted of such violations, like say DWI, then termination is likely to ensue.
The seriousness of the traffic ticket
Not all traffic tickets are born equal. While your employer may not terminate your employment for incurring citations like speeding or nonmoving violations, he/she may consider doing so for serious violations like hit and run offenses, driving under the influence, or even manslaughter charges while driving.
before hiring you as a truck driver, employers often check your driving history. While having one or two tickets over 10 years is unlikely to affect your driving career significantly if you consistently receive tickets on an annual basis, employers will consider you to be a reckless driver, and it will be hard to obtain employment as a truck driver as discussed at ny-defense.com.
Insurers also conduct background checks
Just like employers, insurers too also look at your driving history. If you have too many convictions on your driving history, insurers will decide that you are not worth the risk, and you won’t be able to get insurance for a commercial vehicle, which will mean that the employer will be unlikely to consider hiring you.
Tips on how to protect your CDL
Given how traffic tickets can affect your truck driving career as discussed above, here are three tips on how to protect your CDL, and with it, your career.
The most obvious way to protect your CDL is by avoiding violations while on the road. Make sure you are aware of the various traffic rules and abide by them while ensuring that you are careful while on the road. Make sure you are aware of things like expired documents, overweight, overlength, over height, speeding, defective lights, logbook errors, and omissions, etc.
Fight your tickets
Given the consequences that come with pleading guilty and paying a ticket for a CDL holder, you should always consider fighting your traffic tickets. Hiring an experienced CDL ticket lawyer like ny-defense.com will give you the best chance of a positive result when you choose to fight your ticket.
Don’t depend on a circle check
A circle check is a common practice among truck drivers. However, it should not be expected to be a mechanical inspection as most truck drivers are not qualified to give the okay on a vehicle’s roadworthiness.
If you have been slapped with a traffic ticket, then you should reach out to ny-defense.com for help to ensure that your career isn’t affected in any way.