Following too closely is one of the traffic violations for a trucker that the DOT FMCSA considers a “serious offense.”
What Is a Serious Offense?
According to Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part §383.51, Sub Part D, Driver Disqualifications and Penalties, Table 2 shows the violations that, if convicted for a second time within three years of the first, will lead to a 60-day driver disqualification. A third will be for 120 days.
Those serious offenses are:
- Excessive speeding, 15 or more mph over the speed limit or any speeding in a construction zone.
- Reckless driving.
- An unsafe lane change.
- Following too closely.
- Any violation leading to a fatality.
- Driving your CMV without a CDL or CLP.
- Driving your CMV without the correct endorsement.
- Driving while using a hand-held mobile device or cell phone.
An illegal railroad crossing is a serious offense, too, except that you do not get a warning. The DOT FMCSA will give you a driver’s disqualification immediately upon conviction. Although, a successful appeal of any of these will nullify the disqualification.
What’s more, the CFR states, “…CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV, if the conviction results in the revocation, cancellation, or suspension of the CLP or CDL holder's license or non-CMV driving privileges…”
Therefore, it is prudent for a CDL holder to hire a traffic attorney for any violation and challenge it in traffic court. Now, even a second cell phone ticket in your non-CMV could get your driving privileges suspended, a serious offense, and a driver disqualification.
Following too Closely or Tailgating in CA
CA Vehicle Code CVC Section 21703, Driving, Overtaking, and Passing, states, “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the roadway.”
Something that jumps right out at a traffic attorney about this section of traffic code is the wording, “…more closely than is reasonable and prudent…” The law enforcement officer (LEO) that issues you the citation for following too closely or tailgating might have a different viewpoint about what is reasonable and prudent than the traffic court judge.
The traffic attorney must merely raise a “reasonable doubt” about the LEO’s perspective by asking a few leading questions, such as, “Isn’t it possible the driver wasn’t following too closely but was cut off by a vehicle changing lanes?” Isn’t it possible that because of the size of the truck you could not see the other traffic on the freeway?”
The LEO has to answer yes to those questions because they simply cannot see past the 18-wheeler if they are sitting on the side of the freeway.
Regardless of the circumstances, a CDL holder must challenge all traffic tickets with the assistance of a traffic attorney or risk the possibility of losing their livelihood.
Consult with a Traffic Attorney about a Following Too Closely Ticket in Roseville, CA
When you get a traffic ticket for following too closely on I-80 in Roseville, CA, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
We practice only traffic law using a flat fee. You will know how much it will cost regardless of the number of court appearances we will need to make on your behalf. Give us a call; it’s free.
The 2019-2021 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf21703, Driving, Overtaking, and Passing