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undefinedYou Shouldn’t Use Your Cell Phone When Driving a Commercial Vehicle

The act of using a cell phone while driving a commercial vehicle has recently become more dangerous to the CDL holder’s career.

As of July 2021, the CA Assembly created a bill, AB-47, Distracted Driving to make the second conviction or paid fine for illegal cell phone use a negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) event. Once convicted of a second cell phone use violation, the DMV will assess 1.5 NOTS points to the commercial vehicle driver. A non-commercial driver will be assessed one NOTS point.

Previously, anyone with a regular Class C license could pay their cell phone fine and forget about it. The approximate $150 fine for a first offense remains the same, but the second offense will cost around $260 depending on the CA county. Plus, the convicted non-professional driver will be assessed one NOTS point, which could affect their auto insurance premium if they are not eligible for traffic violator’s school (TVS), or 1.5 NOTS points for the commercial vehicle driver in their CMV. They are not eligible to attend TVS.

Any violation of the CA Vehicle Code in a commercial vehicle is not eligible to be masked as confidential by attendance at TVS.  

What makes that dangerous for the commercial vehicle driver is that the DOT FMCSA considers cell phone use a “serious offense.” Plus, whereas the CA traffic court fine is about $260, at the FMCSA level, you will receive a civil penalty of $2,750. The FMCSA will assess the maximum of ten CSA severity points, which could be multiplied by three if their first conviction was within the last six months, which will stay on your Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) for three years. What’s more, the FMCSA will invoke the serious offense statute 49 CFR 383.51 and disqualify the driver for 60-days whenever their previous conviction was within three years.   

How to Avoid a Cell Phone Ticket in CA in Your Commercial Vehicle

The easiest and most effective method of avoiding a cell phone ticket in your CMV is to install a mount on the dashboard so that you can initiate a call with a single finger swipe and avoid picking up the phone. 

Many drivers are shocked to get a cell phone ticket when pulled into the weigh station. The entrance is still part of the highway, and holding a cell phone can be picked up on the CHP cameras. Merely holding a cell phone while driving a commercial vehicle is illegal in CA. 

Consult a CA Traffic Attorney for All Cell Phone Tickets 

Call Bigger & Harman, APC (661) 349-9300. When you receive a cell phone ticket in Kings County, CA, protect your career as a commercial vehicle driver by consulting the traffic ticket team of Bigger & Harman.

We provide a free consultation to CDL holders so that you can get the facts to make an informed decision about your cell phone ticket. It might be easier to get the first ticket dismissed in some cases. Give us a call or email, and let’s discuss it.  

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.



The 2019-2021 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

CVC Section 12323.5Driving Offenses

The FMCSA CFR 49 Part 383.51Driver Disqualifications

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