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police carAuthorities recently continued their campaign against commercial drivers in general, and suspicious driving schools in particular, in a Sacramento criminal court. What effect do these prosecutions have on truckers in Lamont and Shafter?

A joint investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, DMV, and Department of Justice uncovered three alleged conspiracies in which students paid up to $5,000 for commercial drivers’ licenses that they did not earn through study, training, or experience. According to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, the truck schools paid money to DMV workers in Salinas and Sacramento, and these workers then falsified computer records to show that the students passed tests they either failed or did not take.

Two defendants have already pleaded guilty; four others have court dates in the coming months.

FMCSA Scores

Now that there’s a cloud over at least some California CDLs, expect employers to pay even closer attention to BASIC and PSP pre- and post-employment safety tests. These Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration tests basically serve as supplemental CDLs. But instead of a one-time performance on a test, a good FMSCA score requires an ongoing commitment to safety. It also requires a good lawyer, and we’ll get back to that in a minute.

The two SMS (Safety Management System) tests – Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories and Pre-Employment Screening – track data like:

  • HOS (hours of service) compliance,
  • Unsafe driving,
  • Driver fitness,
  • Crash records, and
  • Vehicle maintenance.

A high PSP score may keep employers from hiring you or giving you contract work in the first place, while a high BASIC score might be grounds for termination or greatly increased insurance rates.

Some drivers think that if a ticket is dismissed, or the charges are downgraded, that it’s not counted for SMS purposes, but that’s not the case, because the government uses law enforcement data and not information from the courts. So, that fix-it ticket you received may still be dragging down your BASIC or PSP score, even if you took care of it. An attorney can ensure that your scores are as low as possible.

Most truck drivers are well trained, conscientious operators of big rigs who are offended that others would cut corners on their training. Unfortunately, the actions of a few cheaters may very well put more law abiding trucker drivers under scrutiny.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.

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