All my life I have wanted to be a long-haul trucker, well, ever since I
can remember. My grandfather was a trucker and I so wanted to be like
him. I was so amazed he even had a bed in his truck. We lived right beside
the overpass on SR-99 when I was a kid. My best friend and cousin, Matt,
used to run up there on the overpass whenever the parents were gone, which
was just about every day because everyone worked. We’d stand up
there and wait for one of those 18-wheelers to come along and we’d
pump our fists, imitating the motion it took to pull the air horn. And,
when they’d give us a hoot, we would laugh like crazy and high-five
each other. Then, we’d run across the street to the other side and
wave and pump our fists some more hoping for another hoot-hoot!
My cousin Matt is still a long-haul trucker and single, living in Colorado.
He has a huge house in Colorado Springs that he doesn’t spend much
time in, but his parents live there and take care of it for him. He always
said he only wanted to be a trucker and that’s no life for a married
man. He said, “I don’t need no woman tying me down.”
Hey, don’t shoot me, I’m just relaying his message.
Anyway, I was a trucker once, ever so briefly. I had so many tickets my
first two years, they took my commercial driver’s license (CDL)
and I just stopped trying to get it back. It hurt too much whenever I
got my hopes up and got rejected. If I had it to do all over again, I
would protect my CDL and concentrate 100% of my energy on not getting
a single ticket, that’s what Matt says he does.
The Four CA Vehicle Code Violations Every Trucker Should Avoid
If you think I am going to tell you about driving under the influence or
speeding over 100 mph, you would be mistaken. Every trucker already knows
to stay away from those two. Those are both a death sentence/career ender
for a trucker. When you get a ticket for one of those, you better find
another line of work.
The four I am referring to are Logbook infractions (cooking the books),
wrong routes, overweight trucks, and speeding, 1-15 mph over the speed
limit. Let’s take a closer look at each of these individually, so
you’ll understand that CDL holders are held to a much higher standard
than every day drivers, oh wait, that’s backward because truckers
are every day drivers. I should have said occasional drivers.
Speeding 1-15 MPH Over the Limit
Most drivers that get stopped for 15 mph over the limit, figure, “Well,
that’s going to cost me a couple hundred dollars here in CA. Do
you know what a trucker or other commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver
thinks? “Expletive, I hope I will be able to keep my job.”
Most people do not even realize there are employers that have a ZERO tolerance
for drivers in their fleet who get a moving violation because the amount
of fleet insurance they pay is based on the collective driving record
of all their drivers.
Another concern for a CDL holder is the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulation. That regulation makes 15 mph over the speed limit
a “serious offense” subject to a 60-day suspension or more
appropriately, an “out-of-service” order, which amounts to
the same thing, except their CDL is a privilege granted by the state of
CA and can only be suspended by a CA judge or the DMV. Therefore, if you
are convicted of two serious offenses, yes there are more, such as improper
lane change and tailgating among others, within two years you will be
under an out of service order for 60-days. Imagine getting laid-off from
your job for 60 days? Do you think your job would still be there when
you get back?
The fines for overweight trucking can be huge. Overweight tickets are approximately
by-the-pound, so you can figure $1.00 for every pound overweight your
truck was at the inspection station, which is run by CHP officers, by
the way. Those others you see out there along the freeway are private
weighing stations, there are 50 or more within just a few miles of Long
Beach and Los Angeles, the two busiest seaports in the USA.
These private weigh stations are optional stops and will cost the driver
money, but the public weigh stations or "Commercial Vehicle Enforcement
Facilities" are not optional and CMV drivers must stop, submit to
inspection, and if found overweight it will likely cost you a lot more.
Two thousand pounds overweight for an 80,000-pound vehicle does not seem
like much but could cost you $2000. We represented one trucker whose fine
would have been $25,000, but we were fortunate enough to get it dismissed.
Call us before you just pay the fine.
Log Book Infractions
Every time a trucker or CMV driver takes a rest or makes any changes, such
as rest stops, a break in the sleeper, or time off for rest or sleep must
be annotated in an “Hours of Service” log. You can see an example
here. In addition, there are apps on smart phones that can be used if the trucker
has it where they can see it and it is readily available for inspection,
like on the dashboard. Most drivers are very attentive of their log books
and make changes before they move the vehicle. The ones that don’t
are usually trying to hide something, like driving more than FMCSA regulations
allow, only 14 hours after a ten-hour rest period and you must take a
15-minute break after 8 hours of driving.
Most CDL holders or CMV drivers do not have to worry too much about this
regulation, but holders of special permits such as explosives or hazardous
material (HAZMAT) must. These drivers must stay on the route unless told
by a law enforcement officer to change routes because of a road closure
or municipal regulation change that makes it unlawful to proceed through
their city with the material the driver is carrying. However, the driver
must call it into the company dispatcher so it is logged there too and they
must get back on the scheduled route as soon as possible after a detour.
It is unlawful for a driver to arbitrarily change routes because there’s
too much traffic on the route they are directed to travel.
Hire a Local Traffic Attorney
Choose Bigger & Harman. I chose these traffic attorneys, Bigger &
Harman because of what I read in a comment on
Yelp, “I'm a truck driver. Mark Bigger told me from the very beginning
that he would do his best to reduce my moving violation to a non-point
violation... he then did exactly what he said he'd try to do and got
it reduced to a zero points violation...”– Michael K., Reno NV.
Call Bigger & Harman when you receive a ticket in Central Valley, including
Kern, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Mono, and others. Bigger & Harman has
an excellent reputation with traffic court judges in Delano, Visalia,
Bishop, Lamont, LA, and Santa Clarita.
Call Bigger & Harman today, 661-349-9300. Or, send an email:
firstname.lastname@example.org. For confidential and convenient appointment set up, use their website
You can even contact them on their
En español, llame al 661-349-9755.