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Protect Your CDL from the Start

Don’t Put Yourself Behind the 8-Ball with Your CDL

Many new commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders are newly employed and anxious to impress their employer by making scheduled pick ups and drops on time, leaving themselves open to speeding violations or mistakes with their log book. Some without a driving mentor don’t realize the best way to impress the new boss is to not get any traffic tickets. But, more than impressing the boss is protecting your CDL from Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points.

NOTS and Your CDL

The NOTS points assessed by the DMV and added to your motor vehicle driver’s record (MVR) if you’re convicted depends on two factors, the severity of the offense and whether you were driving a private vehicle or your commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The holder of a CDL is held to a different (higher) standard than a regular driver.

When a regular driver has a conviction, at-fault accident, or just paid the fine (which is the same as pleading guilty) for a minor infraction their DL is assessed one NOTS point; however, a CDL holder in a CMV is assessed 1.5 NOTS points, or 50 percent higher. The same is true for a two-point assessment, a CDL holder in a CMV will be assessed three points, one more and their license will be suspended and they will be out of work.

Either driver will face a six-months suspension and a one-year probation that runs alongside the suspension and can lead to added suspension time with further convictions, at-fault accidents, or failure to appear (FTA) to resolve a ticket. The points accumulated which will lead to suspension are:

· Four points assessed in a twelve-month period,

· Six points assessed in a twenty-four-month period, or

· Eight points in a thirty-six-month period.

That suspension/probation will be handed down only after a DMV Hearing if you request one within ten days of receiving the suspension notice. Always, always, always hire a traffic ticket lawyer to assist you with a DMV Hearing, as they can contest tickets that you would have no idea can even be disputed.

Top Four Concerns for a CDL Holder

Here are the top four concerns for the CDL holder in CA:

#1 – Log book Hour Violations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and CA law are very specific about maintaining a log book and having it available for inspection when stopped by law enforcement officers (LEO). Knowingly entering false information into a log book to avoid the Hours of Operations laws is a severe violation of Federal and CA Vehicle Code. Additionally, it is illegal for an employer to force a driver to log incorrect information, yet many do not have a choice but to comply or be fired.

Be very careful not to falsify log book entries, carrying your log book, over-time driving, and outdated log books. So, take your 30-minute break every eight hours and keep your log book up-to-date and on hand for inspection. And, when you’re ticketed for a violation, contact Bigger & Harman.

#2 – Speeding

Although a 1-15 mph speeding ticket is a minor infraction for most drivers, it can be a major headache for a trucker. Particularly, if it is 15 mph over. The FMCSA regulation makes speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit a serious offense and even though a first offense will not lead to suspension of your CDL, the second conviction of this or any serious offense within a three-year period will lead to a 60-day suspension and the third, 120 days.

#3 – Overweight Vehicles

The biggest problem with overweight violations could very well be the amount of the fine. CA levies fines for overweight trucks and vehicles at what basically equals $1 per pound. Therefore, a truck that is four or five thousand pounds overweight could result in a very hefty fine. And, in some cases, the company will tell the driver, “Don’t worry we’ll take care of it.”

A few of these trucking companies are not concerned with their drivers and are just in it for the money. The FMCSA and Caltrans are very strict on regulating truckers but not so much when it comes to the business operations of trucking companies. Many unknowing truckers sign rent-to-own contracts on their trucks making them independent contractors, oh goodness, I spelled indentured slave wrong. Read this USA Today article, Rigged System Rips Off Port Truckers.

One company told a trucker not to worry about an overweight ticket for nearly $10,000 and then went out of business, only to open another trucking company under a different name in another state. Do yourself a favor and call Bigger & Harman when you receive any ticket that could affect your CDL.

#4 – Wrong Route

Many new or inexperienced drivers don’t realize how strict Caltrans, CHP, and the FMCSA are about the route you are assigned to take from pickup to delivery, particularly with HAZMAT and explosive material. It may seem logical after being stuck in traffic to take the next exit and try to make up time on another route, but this can get you in hot water and a traffic ticket. A violation of CVC 31602, transporting explosives can result in a fine of more than $4,000. Stick to your scheduled route and if there’s a need to change, such as a law enforcement ordering you to take a different route, get the LEOs information and call in the proposed new route and get back onto original route as soon as possible.

Call Bigger & Harman

Don’t be a victim, call Bigger & Harman, Central Valley traffic ticket defenders. Bigger & Harman are proud to provide a FREE phone consultation to CDL holders for any moving violation in your CMV or private vehicle. We know how hard you must work to keep your license and that the system is not always in your favor. Call today for a no obligation consultation, 661-349-9300. Or, send us an email: attorney@markbigger.com. We represent clients in Santa Clarita, Lamont, Bakersfield, LA, Fresno, and many other Central Valley courts.

Se habla Español 661.349.9755.