When you’re out there on the road as part of a fleet or as an owner-operator or subcontractor, there are three trucker tickets you especially need to be careful not to get. These three tickets are speeding, following too closely (tailgating), and an unsafe lane change.
The consequences of a conviction for any ticket in CA are high enough, but the FMCSA considers some more serious offenses than others. All three of these trucker tickets are in the same Safety Measurement System (SMS) under the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) point system. Those BASICs categories are driver safety, tired or ill driving, driver’s fitness, drugs & alcohol (including prescription meds), maintenance, cargo securement, and accident involvement.
Therefore, you and your fleet will get CSA severity points for a conviction, which could be multiplied by a two (2) or three (3) time-weight calculator. Three is the maximum for convictions or crashes within the previous six months, and two for six months to a year. That record of conviction or accident will remain on the carrier’s record for two years and the driver’s record for three.
The system uses a percentage calculation to identify fleet DOT numbers to target for interventions and inspections. For drivers, it is typically a roadside inspection; for the carrier, it could be an inspection of policies and procedures. The carrier’s percentile is arrived at through a complex formula using the total number of trucks or buses, miles driven, and others to come up with a percentile between 0-100.
What’s unfair to some truckers is that you could be the safest driver on the road, but if your fleet has a high percentile, you could get stopped for more roadside inspections. Those with a percentile of 50-74 could get chosen for inspection, and those with 75-100 will get selected.
Speeding: Trucker Tickets
Not all speeding tickets are a serious offense, according to the FMCSA. What the FMCSA considers a serious offense is 15 mph over the speed limit, which in CA is a maximum of 55 mph across the state and any speeding conviction in a construction zone. This is one reason a trucker should always consult a traffic ticket attorney. There are specific requirements according to CA law, such as workers must be present, warning signs and lights must be posted at a specific distance from the start of the zone, and others.
What’s a serious offense? A serious offense can get a CDL holder a 60-day disqualification upon the second conviction in those same BASICs category within 36-months of the first, and a 120-day disqualification for a third. These violations had to have occurred in their commercial motor vehicle (CMV), even though a CDL holder is required to notify their employer of any moving violation convictions.
Following Too Closely
The CA traffic code for following too closely is somewhat vague, as are many traffic laws. CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 21703, Additional Driving Rules, states that a driver “…shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent…” and further the driver must consider the road conditions and visibility that could affect stopping distance.
Unsafe Lane Change
CVC 22107, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals warns all driver not to make a lane change “…until such movement can be made with reasonable safety…” and after using their blinker or turn signal so that it will not affect other drivers.
CDL holders should consider these troublesome situations, but so too must other drivers on America’s highways. That area that you dart into after passing an 80,000-pound truck just might be within their safe stopping distance. Unless you absolutely must get back in to prevent an accident, continue on in the passing lane until you can safely get back in without entering a truck’s safe stopping zone.
As the presenters in your safety class every quarter repeatedly state, slow down, increase the distance between you and the next vehicle, and use your blinker. It's the correct thing to do to every situation on the road. Just chill. You'll get there. And, when you do get a ticket, let a traffic ticket attorney resolve it for you. You’ll save time and money.
Who Handles Trucker Tickets in Roseville?
When you get any trucker tickets in the Roseville area, call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
We specialize in CDL holder violations and DMV Hearings. We know that truckers cannot take time off to resolve a traffic ticket; therefore, we give CDL holders a free initial consultation. Give us a call, and let’s discuss your situation.
Send us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf