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I Didn’t Know I Couldn’t Use a Radar Detector in My Truck

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Many novice truck drivers are unaware that it is illegal to use a lidar or radar detector in their commercial motor vehicle (CMV). They have one in their car, and they switch it over to the truck before going on a long trip. In CA, as in most states, it is perfectly legal to use a radar detector in your private vehicle. Radar jammers, however, are illegal just about everywhere.

Likewise, it is dangerous and, therefore, not legal to hang a radar detector where it will interfere with the driver’s ability to see the road. There have been occurrences of drivers getting ticketed for an air freshener or other paraphernalia hanging from the rearview mirror.  

Even with a governor on their truck to keep their speed under 62 – 65 mph or whatever their fleet mechanics have been told to set the max speed, a radar detector warns them of a speed trap ahead. Many highways with long, steep grades lower the speed limit to 35 – 40 mph on these dangerous grades.  

If you miss the sign while passing another big rig, you could very easily get ticketed for 15 mph over the speed limit while going just 50 or 55 mph. School and construction zones can be financially crippling and career-ending when it turns into a conviction for a “serious violation,” according to the FMCSA. A second conviction of a serious violation within three years will get the driver disqualified for 60 days.  

The CSA, SMS, PSP, & the FMCSA Assessments

Any speeding violation in a construction zone is considered a serious violation by the FMCSA, and a conviction will result in a ten-point maximum severity Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) point assessment. These violations get grouped in the same Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) category, Unsafe Driving under the Safety Measurement System (SMS) administered by the FMCSA.

Convictions and accidents are assessed CSA points by the FMCSA. These severity points could be multiplied by “time weights” based on the frequency of convictions or incidents within the same BASICs category. Those similar violations that recur within six months of a previous conviction will get multiplied by three, and another recurrence within six to twelve months will get multiplied by two. Those assessments get transferred to a percentile that is based on the fleet’s number of vehicles and/or the driver’s miles driven.  

CSA point assessment stays on the fleet’s record for two years and on the driver’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) record for three years. Fleet managers and other employers have access to a driver’s PSP to screen for safe driving habits.

Radar Detector Violation Conviction & the CSA

If you get stopped at a roadside inspection, weigh station, or during any routine stop and a radar detector is discovered in your CMV, you will likely be cited for the violation in addition to the reason for the stop if other than a random weigh-in and inspection.

If convicted, you will get assessed five CSA severity points, plus the multiplier and any other violations discovered during the inspection. To keep those points off your PSP and keep from paying the state penalties for equipping or using a lidar or radar detector in your CMV, you should consult an attorney. 

Consult with a Traffic Attorney about a Radar Detector Violation Within the Woodland Area 

When you get ticketed for using a radar detector on I-5 in Woodland in Yolo County, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We are traffic ticket attorneys who offer CDL holders a free consultation for traffic tickets and equipment violations. We are familiar with the CA traffic code because we spend the time in traffic courts. Regardless if it is our client or not, we hear how the judge rules on various circumstances and could use that ruling as leverage in your case. Although we can’t always get a dismissal or reduced no-point violation, we have a proven track record of success.

We also accept emails, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com. Attach a scanned copy of the ticket and as many specifics as possible so that we can determine your chances of success with a request for dismissal or reduced charge. When we can get a no-point conviction, you might need to pay a lesser fine, but there are no NOTS points, and therefore no CSA points assessed to your PSP. 

References:

The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

JJ Keller’s Fleetistics articleTop 10 Most Common Unsafe Driving Violations