The act of "following too closely" in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is not just a minor traffic violation; it's a matter that has deeper legal implications, especially for those commercial drivers who operate the big rigs on CA freeways like I-80 through the Donner Pass headed to the Bay area.
Following Too Closely Is Dangerous for Both Drivers & Other Vehicles
We've all seen a smaller four-wheel vehicle cutting off an 18-wheeler, almost causing a dangerous situation for all involved.
Such reckless actions can easily lead to fatal accidents due to large commercial vehicles' reduced stopping distance and maneuverability. However, there are times when a law enforcement officer (LEO) may not have an advantageous view of the four-wheeler's actions. They might mistakenly cite the commercial driver for following too closely or tailgating. The LEO could misinterpret the situation, but the legal repercussions for the trucker could be severe.
When a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder faces a charge of tailgating or following too close, they should immediately consult a CA traffic attorney. They should challenge the ticket in court with an attorney to possibly avoid the DOT FMCSA being notified of this “serious offense.”
Following Too Closely Is a DOT FMCSA Serious Offense
Many novice commercial drivers may not realize that this minor infraction in California isn't just a simple ticket.
If convicted, the California DMV will notify the DOT FMCSA of the violation. As per the regulations, a second conviction of such a "serious offense" can result in the FMCSA imposing a 60-day driver disqualification.
This disqualification means the commercial driver will be barred from driving their CMV for two months. Imagine the financial implications for the driver’s family! Unable to earn, they'll face immense challenges in providing for their family.
Furthermore, a commercial driver with a serious offense on their Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) will find it difficult to find another driving position. The DOT FMCSA mandates fleet managers examine the driver’s PSP during recruiting.
Typically, only low-paying companies that provide little or no benefits for drivers will consider hiring a driver with a serious offense or moving violation on their PSP.
How a CA Traffic Attorney Can Assist
Given the consequences, it becomes crucial for commercial drivers to contest such tickets in traffic court with the help of a traffic attorney.
We understand that some might believe hiring an attorney for a "minor" traffic violation is too costly. But when one weighs the potential loss of income against the cost of legal representation, it's clear that the latter is a worthwhile investment.
Engaging with a seasoned CA traffic attorney can be a game-changer in these situations. An experienced attorney might be able to negotiate a no-point conviction with the traffic court judge, reducing the moving violation of following too closely to the equivalent of a parking ticket. If there's no conviction for a moving violation, neither the CA DMV nor the DOT FMCSA get notified. The benefits don't just end there.
For a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, there's an added advantage. They typically don't even need to appear in court. They can take their next load and head out on the road with the assurance that their ticket will be resolved without their presence in court.
We at Bigger & Harman offer a free, no-obligation consultation. Given our experience and knowledge of traffic laws, our flat fee system, and our ability to negotiate with the traffic court judge, consulting with us can be highly advantageous for CDL holders facing a following too closely citation.
In conclusion, while it may seem like a minor hiccup, a following too closely ticket in a commercial vehicle has significant legal, career, and financial ramifications. It’s not just about the immediate fine but the long-term implications for the driver’s career and livelihood. Taking prompt, effective legal action with the right support can make all the difference.
Remember, it's not just about a ticket; it's about securing your career.
Contact Bigger & Harman, APC
When you face a following too closely charge in Truckee Courthouse in Nevada County, CA, contact the professionals at Bigger & Harman.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
Download our e-book, Protecting Your Commercial Driver License.
The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.
The FMCSA CFR 49 Part 383.51, Driver Disqualifications.
The DOT FMCSA Hours of Service Drivers Final Rule.