Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today

undefinedFor commercial drivers, receiving a citation for following too closely isn’t just a minor traffic violation; it's an accusation that could jeopardize their professional driving future. 

This blog post will provide legal insights about how to challenge these citations and why considering the assistance of a legal professional is essential.

Understanding the Gravity of the Situation

In CA, a tailgating or "following too closely" citation is a minor infraction with a fine of $237 and 1.5 negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points

However, what many non-commercial drivers may not realize is:

  • After assessing NOTS points, the CA DMV will notify the FMCSA.
  • At the DOT FMCSA, following too closely is viewed as a “serious offense.”
  • A second conviction within three years results in a 60-day driver disqualification. A third leads to 120 days. A fourth conviction? That could sideline a commercial driver for an entire year, potentially ending their career.
  • The FMCSA will add five compliance, safety, and accountability (CSA) severity points to the carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) percentile and the driver’s Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record, which stays for two years for the carrier and three years for the driver.
  • Those five CSA severity points could be multiplied by three if it is the second conviction within that BASICS category within the previous six months, two within a year, and the points will remain on the PSP for three years.

To avoid these penalties, you must avoid the conviction. Always consult a CA traffic attorney before you decide. 

Proactive Measures to Prevent a Following Too Closely Ticket

Being proactive is crucial. By taking a few precautionary measures, commercial drivers can mitigate the risk of receiving a tailgating citation:

  • Always maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front.
  • Adjust your speed according to traffic conditions.
  • Take regular breaks to avoid fatigue, which can impact judgment.
  • Ensure that when someone cuts you off to immediately back off the gas, a law enforcement officer (LEO) might only see that you are too close, not that you were cut off.

In summary, prevention is better than cure. By adhering to the above guidelines, one can substantially reduce the risk of receiving a following too closely citation.

However, even the safest drivers get unwarranted tickets. Typically, the larger vehicle gets the attention of the LEO rather than the four-wheel offender.

Consulting a Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney

Commercial drivers are very good at transporting cargo across the country and filling our stores with the necessary goods.

Traffic attorneys are very good at defending those drivers who get tickets. Guilt or innocence has very little to do with defending a traffic ticket. What matters is what the State can prove and do they have a “winnable” case.

Even when the State has a winnable case, we can often negotiate with the traffic court judge for a no-point conviction. A no-point conviction could be equivalent to an expensive parking ticket with no NOTS points.

Understanding legal proceedings and challenging citations can be daunting for the driver. That’s where we can make a world of difference to your career.

We understand that the complex jargon of the legal world can be intimidating. We’ll give you a straightforward assessment of your situation and the likelihood of success.

By consulting a traffic ticket defense attorney, you gain an ally who can break down the legalities, guide you, and substantially increase your chances of successfully challenging a following too closely citation. 

With us on your side, you're hiring experienced and knowledgeable legal professionals who offer commercial drivers a free look at their situation without obligation. Add to that a flat fee and peace of mind. Remember, a simple traffic ticket could jeopardize your livelihood; it’s worth the investment to protect it. 

Consult with Bigger & Harman, APC, about Your Following Too Close Ticket

We understand that you have very little free time to consult an attorney. That’s why we offer our initial consultation by phone or email. If you assistance resolving a following too close ticket in Los Banos Courthouse in Merced County, CA, contact Bigger & Harman.  

Facing a ticket as a recreational driver or commuter can be frustrating, but dealing with a following too closely ticket as a commercial driver can be career-threatening.

Call us at (661) 349-9300. Likewise, you can use our handy contact form or email

Download our e-book, Protecting Your Commercial Driver License.

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

The DOT FMCSA 49 CFR Part 383.51, Paragraph 6.2.5Disqualification of Drivers.

The article, CSA Points Value Guide.

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