The CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22406, Speed Laws requires that drivers of the following vehicles not exceed 55 mph on any CA highway:
- Motortruck or truck tractor with three or more axles or pulling another vehicle
- A passenger bus or vehicle pulling another vehicle
- A school bus transporting students
- A farm vehicle transporting passengers
- Any vehicle transporting explosives
Whereas non-commercial drivers can often seemingly get away with driving 90 or 100 on I-5, anyone speeding in a CMV is subject to a ticket. Seven mph over the speed limit or 62 mph in 55 for a CDL holder means a more significant fine, 50% more negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points, four CSA severity points, and higher insurance.
Worst of all, it could mean loss of employment, and with a speeding ticket conviction on their Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) record, it could be nearly impossible to hire on with another fleet.
What’s more, CVC Section 22406.1, Other Speed Laws, makes it a misdemeanor for a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver to exceed 55 mph by 15 or more mph. However, a noncommercial driver who is convicted of speeding 15 or more mph over is guilty of an infraction. However, either conviction is a serious offense, according to the FMCSA.
What Is a “Serious Offense” of Speeding
According to CFR 49 383.51 Part 6.2.5 Disqualification of Drivers, the following are serious offenses:
- Excessive speeding 15 mph or more over
- Any speeding within a construction zone
- Reckless driving
- Unsafe lane changes (an erratic or improper lane change)
- Following too closely
- Violations of a traffic control device that leads to a fatality
- Operating without a commercial learning permit (CLP), commercial driver’s license (CDL), or endorsement in possession
- Texting or using a handheld device while driving any CMV
Although, according to CFR 49 383.51 Part 6.2.7, Notifying Employer of Convictions, a CDL holder must notify their employer in writing of all convictions within 30 days; speeding in your private vehicle does not count against the driver as a serious offense that will lead to disqualification.
A conviction of violating a railroad crossing law is an automatic 60-day disqualification.
A second conviction of a serious offense within three years of the first will lead to a 60-day disqualification. A third conviction of a serious offense will require a 120-day disqualification.
CSA Severity Points for Speeding in a CMV
Drivers and carriers receive Compliance, Safety, & Accountability (CSA) severity points for speeding. Time weight multipliers can increase severity points two or three times. When a conviction matches a violation within a Safety Measurement System (SMS) BASICS category in the previous six months, the severity point will be multiplied by three. Similar convictions within six to twelve months will be multiplied by two, and then used within the SMS algorithm to determine the carrier’s percentile, which could lead to expanded sanctions and interventions.
The following are the CSA Severity points for speeding:
- 10 Severity Points — Speeding 15 mph over or any speeding in a construction zone
- 7 Severity Points — Speeding 11 - 14 mph over
- 4 Severity Points — Speeding 6 - 10 mph over
- 1 Severity Points — Speeding 1 - 5 mph over
Another often peculiar speeding violation in CA is “driving too fast for conditions.” CVC Section 22350, Speed Laws warns all drivers not to drive “…at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent…” giving “…due regard for weather, visibility…” and other conditions.
This traffic law allows the law enforcement officer (LEO) in many cases to interpret what they believe is too fast for conditions to write a speeding ticket. However, what all drivers should be aware of is that the traffic court judge could overrule the LEO’s opinion if provided with “reasonable doubt” about the conditions or your speed.
In many cases, the LEO uses what they call an “experienced estimation” of speed. In other words, a guess. Admittedly, a judge might allow that guess from an experienced LEO with many years on the force, but the LEO with two or three years might have their “guess” disallowed by the judge.
A wise truck driver accused of speeding by any LEO using a guess or experienced estimation should consult a CA traffic attorney and dispute the claim.
Traffic Attorneys Who Handle CMV Speeding Tickets in Yolo County
Contact Bigger & Harman, APC, (661) 349-9300, for a free consultation about your speeding ticket. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The 2019-2021 DL 650 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf
The Balance.com article, A Guide to CSA Point Values and Transportation
CFR 49 383.51 Part 6.2.5 Disqualification of Drivers & 6.2.7, Notifying Employer of Convictions