Following too closely is a common trucking violation in Kern County, CA. However, it should not be taken lightly as it is a DOT FMCSA “serious offense.” A second conviction of a serious offense within 36 months or three years of the first will result in a 60-day driver’s disqualification and a 120-day disqualification for a third within the same period.
A commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder cannot afford to just “mail in the fine” for a following too closely or tailgating charge. That information is forwarded to the DOT FMCSA and is kept on file for three years in their Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record.
Therefore, if their current fleet manager terminates them, they face an uphill battle to get another driving position with a high-paying trucking firm. Sure, they can get hired at a smaller firm for 25 cents a mile and no benefits, but that’s not something you want to do.
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 21703, Driving, Overtaking, and Passing, prohibits tailgating. It 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.”
That leaves the law enforcement officer (LEO) with too much room to interpret what is “reasonable and prudent.” Fortunately, the LEO’s observation or opinion is not the final word on guilt or innocence. Only a traffic court judge can decide that. When you hire a traffic attorney to resolve your ticket in Bakersfield or another Kern County Courthouse, they can raise the level of “reasonable doubt” about what is “reasonable and prudent.”
If you give the LEO his way and pay the fine, you jeopardize your driving position and often your career — especially if there is a second serious offense within three years.
There are three common defenses for following too closely:
- Given the road and weather conditions, the driver’s distance from the vehicle in front was “reasonable and prudent” given the road and weather conditions.
- The lead vehicle made an erratic move or pulled in too soon.
- The LEO was not in a good position to see the incident and blamed the larger vehicle.
Some CA judges will allow dashcam videos with proper date time stamps that might exonerate the CDL holder. Always ask a CA traffic attorney.
Challenging a Following Too Closely Ticket in CA for Out-of-State CDL Holders
This scenario comes up quite often. In fact, we wrote a blog post, “How Can I Dispute a CDL Traffic Ticket in California if I am Not from Here?” to detail the actions you should take.
Whether you’re a Maine, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, or another state CDL holder, we can help resolve your CA traffic tickets. Please send an email or use our online contact form.
Consult Bigger & Harman, APC, to Resolve Your Following Too Closely Ticket in Bakersfield, CA
We are Bigger & Harman, APC; call us at (661) 349-9300. We are CA traffic ticket defense lawyers who specialize in CDL-holder violations. Use our contact form to send a picture of your ticket and a summary of the stop, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.
The FMCSA CFR 49 Part 383.51, Driver Disqualifications.