Getting a moving violation for going 65 mph in your truck on the I-5 in California could get you a speeding ticket. There is a statewide 55 mph speed limit in CA for most commercial motor vehicles (CMV).
We all know about radar detectors -- if you've got the money for a good one, they cost around $200 or $300. However, the use of a radar detector in a commercial vehicle is prohibited by Federal law.
According to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute (LII), no carrier, fleet manager, or trucking firm policy can direct or allow you to use a radar detector. Likewise, according to the 49 CFR Part 392.71, Radar Detectors; Use and/or Possession, “No driver shall use a radar detector in a CMV, or operate a CMV that is equipped with or contains any radar detector.”
Therefore, telling the LEO, “It was there, but I never used it.” will not clear you of the charge, but could implicate your boss.
Methods to Avoid a Speeding Ticket
There are other ways to avoid a speeding ticket that don't involve any expense or breaking the law. Watch the signs and drive at or below the speed limit. In California, most CMVs are restricted to 55 mph statewide by CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22406, Other Speed Laws, which is a moving violation.
Although many carriers and even some owner-operators use a governor to regulate their trucks’ speed, they typically set it at 62 mph, so that won’t help much in CA. Many states do not have the differential speed for CMVs that CA does. Therefore, you must watch your speed to ensure you do not exceed 55 mph. Even seven mph over could be a career-ender for a CDL holder.
Many novice drivers may not know how their truck reacts at certain speeds. Novice drivers should make regular speedometer checks. Many long-haul drivers can tell within five mph how fast they are going without looking. Once you get a feel for your truck, you’ll understand the particular engine sound and the number of revs you get when you're doing the speed limit.
Another thing the novice driver should bear in mind is paying attention to how they feel. Sometimes, some things trigger a heavy foot. Anger and worry often distract your mind from your speed. Be cognizant of the connection if you have to drive when you have issues at home, with the dispatcher, or shipper. Although it’s not always possible, whatever your concerns, try to resolve those before you hit the road.
How LEO Determines Your Speed
There are three methods LEO typically uses in CA to determine your truck’s speed.
Of course, LEOs use radar and lidar to catch people speeding. Lidar is the same as radar except it uses a laser beam to bounce off your vehicle and return to the source to measure your speed rather than an ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio signal. They also do it by pacing vehicles in their vehicle. The LEO will follow a vehicle for a specific distance and match their speed.
What many drivers do not realize is that although these methods are precise, there are legal technicalities with each.
Radar and lidar devices require periodic calibration. If the device is past the calibration date, the judge will typically dismiss the speeding ticket because there is “reasonable doubt” of its accuracy.
Many drivers do not realize that quite often, LEOs will guess how fast you were going. This is quite often true when you are cited for going “too fast for conditions.” If you don’t challenge it, their guess is as accurate as any other method! At least most commercial drivers are smart enough to challenge a moving violation.
If the LEO says your speed was tracked by aircraft or by point-to-point timing, consult an attorney, these methods have been ruled “speed traps” in some CA courts.
Hiring a Traffic Lawyer for Speeding in Your Truck in Kings County, CA
When you need the answer to the question, “Who should I talk to about a speeding ticket in my truck,” call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
We are a Bakersfield Traffic Law firm, who resolve traffic tickets and represent CDL holders at DMV Hearings in Kings County and across CA.
The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf
CVC Section 22406, Other Speed Laws
49 CFR Part 392.71, Radar Detectors; Use and/or Possession