Many people choose a career as a commercial driver with a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) to make a good living in a high demand occupation with the opportunity to travel throughout the country. To protect one’s ability to continue to work as a CDL driver, it is essential, as a California licensed CDL driver or as a driver licensed in another state driving through California, to be aware of the severe and punitive commercial driver laws that can adversely affect or even end one’s career as a professional driver. Care and knowledge of California’s Commercial Driver Laws can prevent devastating fines and punishments which can even include loss of a CDL and jail time.
Moving Violations in California
A CDL commercial driver driving in/through the State of California who is ticketed for a moving violation must inform his/her employer within 30 days even if the infraction occurred when driving a personal vehicle. If a conviction for a California licensed CDL driver occurs out of California, a report form must be filed with the California DMV.
Failure to do this can result in civil liabilities of 2500 dollars for each offense and criminal penalties not to exceed a 5000-dollar fine and imprisonment not to exceed 90 days or both. In addition, points can be added to a driver’s record which can increase insurance rates. If CDL drivers accumulate more than 4 points on their driving records within a 12-month period, their license will be suspended.
DUI in California
CDL driver’s licenses will be suspended for one year if a driver is convicted of DUI involving drugs or alcohol. CDL licenses can also be suspended for a year if a driver refuses to submit to a DUI breathing test. If a blood alcohol level is determined to be more than .04%, the CDL will be suspended for one year. For the second conviction of a .04% BAC level offense, the driver’s CDL can be lost for life.
California Lane Violations
In the State of California, unlike in many other states, commercial drivers face third lane violations under California Vehicle Code 22348 (c). This means that drivers can be cited if they are found driving either in the fast lane or in the lane immediately to the right of the carpool lane. They can also be cited if driving in the third lane of a four- lane highway unless they are one mile from making a left turn. Conviction of this infraction can lead to 1.5 points on their driving record or more if they hold an out of state CDL.
Moving Violations for Stopping or Parking on Side of the Road
In California unlike other states, it is considered a moving violation to stop to let someone out of the vehicle in a non-designated area. It is also a moving violation to stop or park on the side of a freeway.
Driving Too Slow or Blocking an Intersection in California
Under California Vehicle Code section 22526, a commercial driver is prohibited from entering an intersection or marked crosswalk unless there is sufficient room in which to complete the maneuver. Commercial drivers can also be cited for driving too slowly in the left lane causing a backup of vehicles unless passing a slower vehicle.
Posted Highway Speed in California
Unlike other states where the posted speed limit for trucks in 65 mph, the California posted speed limit for trucks is 55 mph and great care must be taken to avoid a speeding ticket.
Taking Care of Your Commercial Driving Career
California has instituted a punitive set of rules and regulations for Commercial drivers many of which are different from many other states. Violations of these laws can result in profound consequences and career-ending punishments for inadvertent mistakes. If accused of a traffic violation in California, it is essential to retain an experienced California Traffic Attorney who can investigate all circumstances of the incident and determine the best defense of one’s crucial livelihood.