Truck and charter bus drivers can usually see much further ahead than their four-wheeled fellow drivers. That means they must maintain a much larger following distance to see further ahead. This lengthened following distance allows them enough reaction time and stopping distance so that they can stop before they plow into a bunch of cars stopped for a traffic jam or standstill.
Therefore, they rarely get nailed for following too close unless one of their four-wheeled fellow drivers cuts back in too soon, and the law enforcement officer (LEO) spots the following distance but not the driver cutting in front of the bus or truck after passing. Is it right? No, of course, it isn’t.
Tractor-trailers weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds when loaded, some even more with permits for oversized loads. Consequently, states and the FMCSA have created laws making it illegal for these commercial motor vehicles (CMV) to follow too close.
Following Too Close: An FMCSA “Serious Offense”
Sure, it makes sense. It even makes sense that the FMCSA would make this a “serious offense.” The problem occurs when the LEO thinks she saw something she didn’t actually see. That being the truck or bus following too close when in all actuality the car cut in too soon. Yet, truckers share the road with many vehicles which can stop much more quickly they can. Truckers can see over the car tops, often miles ahead.
LEO can’t see everything, that too is understandable. However, the CDL holder who meekly accepts the ticket when they did nothing wrong is not logical.
For those non-CMV drivers reading this, a serious offense conviction will lead to a 60-day driving disqualification for CDL holders, whether in their CMV or private vehicle. Even when they are allowed to attend Traffic Violator’s School (TVS) to keep their guilty plea confidential, the conviction could be sent to the FMCSA by the CA DMV inadvertently. Some DMV employees might even think that is the right course of action.
Then, you might need a Request for Data Review from the FMCSA DataQs to get it removed. You will quite likely need an attorney to get that done, so why not get an attorney to get it dismissed initially if possible? That will save you money, time, and the added stress.
Most drivers are hesitant to hire an attorney because they fear it will cost too much. Most traffic attorneys charge a flat fee to resolve traffic tickets no matter how many court appearances by them are necessary. What’s more, you can keep driving and never show up for court.
CDL Holders Must Challenge a Following Too Close Ticket
Granted, these drivers cannot take time off, nor turn down a load; neither can they wait in court for their name to get called. The bills must get paid, and shipments delivered. The smart CDL holder calls a traffic lawyer, takes advantage of their free initial consultation (if they have one), and gets their expert opinion on their chances of a dismissal or a reduced no-point conviction and fine.
Not every case is winnable, but you stand a much better chance with an attorney who can present your case logically to a traffic court judge. Gone are the days in CA when a driver or their lawyer could approach the DA about a plea deal. However, CA judges hear these types of cases all the time.
Talk to a Traffic Attorney Who Can Resolve Your Ticket in Woodland, CA
Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
All CDL holders need an experienced and knowledgeable traffic law attorney to challenge any traffic ticket. This is especially true for those the FMCSA considers a serious offense, such as:
- Speeding 15 mph over the limit or any speeding in a construction zone
- Following too close
- An unsafe lane change
- Reckless driving
- Railroad crossing violations (automatic 60-day disqualification)
There are a few others, but you get the idea, call us right away or send an email to email@example.com.
The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf
The FMCSA DataQs portal
The FMCSA Safety Planner
The Forward Thinking article, CSA Scores Made Clear How to Understand and Improve Your CSA Scores