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What are Disqualifying Violations for a Commercial Drivers License?

In 1999 The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act was enacted and required that all commercial drivers who possessed a commercial driver’s license to avoid being convicted of certain types of moving violations in a private passenger vehicle or a commercial vehicle. This law would disqualify a driver and not allow them to drive if their license was suspended, revoked, disqualified, denied, or canceled because a driver was convicted of certain moving violations.  The various violations were broken down into various categories including major violations, serious traffic violations, fraud violations, for violating out-of-service orders, and for railroad-highway grade crossing violations.

What are Major Violations?

If a driver is convicted of a major violation in a private passenger vehicle or in a commercial vehicle then their commercial driver’s license could be disqualified from anywhere from one year to a life disqualification. The following violations are considered to be major violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.

  • An administrative per se based on probable cause for operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration at or above .04. Note that this is often a different standard than the state may have for other non-commercial drivers.
  • An administrative per se, probable cause, for operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration at or above .08.
  • Operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or higher will constitute a major violation.
  • Operating a motor vehicle while the driver is under the influence of a controlled substance.
  • If a driver refuses to take an alcohol test, then this may be deemed to be a major violation.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony.
  • Causing a fatality through negligently operating a commercial motor vehicle.
  • If a driver has had their driver’s license revoked and continues to drive a commercial vehicle.

If a driver is convicted of any of these offenses while in a private passenger vehicle or while they are in a commercial vehicle then their commercial driver’s licenses could be disqualified for a year for the first offense. However, if the driver happens to be transporting hazardous materials then they could face a three-year disqualification for a major violation. This disqualification period is intended to be a type of punishment for drivers and to put them on notice that their behavior is unacceptable and potentially hazardous to the health and safety of other drivers. While this punishment may seem harsh, it is light compared to the punishment that a driver could face if they are convicted a second time of committing a major violation. If a driver is convicted a second time of a major violation in either a private vehicle or a commercial vehicle, then they can have their commercial driver’s licenses disqualified for life.

It is important to note that, under The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 a driver has to be convicted of any of the above offenses. This is often a source of confusion for people because there is a difference between being charged and being convicted. For any of the above mentioned offenses to be counted against a driver’s commercial driver’s license, there needs to be a formal court process. This does not always mean a full trial, but it does mean that a judge or other judicially empowered official has entered a judgment against the driver.

CONTACT A TRUCK ACCIDENT Lawyer TODAY

Many times commercial drivers who have had their licenses suspended will continue to drive. In the event that you were involved in an accident with a driver who did not have a current commercial driver’s license or their license was suspended, this may be a basis for liability. To schedule a private, no-cost evaluation, call our truck wreck attorneys (215) 709-6940 or contact us online. If the statute of limitations expires, your window of legal opportunity will close and you won’t be able to pursue a claim. So contact us today to see how we can make our experience work for you. You only pay if there’s a financial recovery.

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