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undefinedOne violation that frequently concerns commercial drivers is "following too close or tailgating."

Driving a commercial vehicle comes with its unique set of challenges and responsibilities. However, tailgating isn’t just a minor traffic violation; for commercial drivers, a conviction can severely affect a commercial driver’s career.

At our traffic law firm, we often advise clients on this very issue, ensuring they understand the ramifications and the steps to take should they find themselves accused.

Is Following Too Close or Tailgating a Moving Violation?

While the act of following too close or tailgating might seem minor to some, it is indeed categorized as a serious violation.

To many noncommercial drivers, this might seem like a mere traffic ticket inconvenience with a possible $238 fine.

However, we emphasize that the DMV will assess the conviction with 1.5 negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points if convicted. Its designation as a “serious offense” by the DOT FMCSA gives subsequent convictions potential career-affecting implications.

For commercial drivers, subsequent convictions within three years can lead to either a 60 or 120-day driver disqualification. This underscores the importance of addressing such violations promptly and with expert legal advice.

If convicted in CA, the DMV will assess NOTS points and notify the DOT FMCSA, where CSA severity points will be assessed and enter into the drivers Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record for three years.

“What Is Following Too Close in CA?”

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 27103, Driving, Overtaking, and Passing, describes following too close or tailgating:

“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.”

So, what the law enforcement officer (LEO) sees as tailgating might be subjective, and a traffic court judge might not agree with the LEO stance when an experienced and knowledgeable CA traffic attorney presents a different point of view of what is “reasonable and prudent.” All an attorney must do is raise the level of “reasonable doubt.”

Therefore, it is always wise to consult with a traffic attorney before deciding to challenge the ticket or pay the fine. It could prevent a driver disqualification and preserve your driving career.

Driving closely behind another vehicle might seem like a minor offense, but the consequences of a conviction are far-reaching for commercial drivers. As with any legal matter, early and expert intervention can make a significant difference.

We encourage commercial drivers to understand the nuances of the "following too close or tailgating" violation and always to seek legal guidance when faced with such accusations.

How Can a Traffic Attorney Assist with a Following Too Close Accusation?

We strongly advocate that commercial drivers consult with a traffic attorney before paying the fine or challenging the ticket.

Our traffic law defense team has assisted numerous clients accused of following too close or tailgating. With our deep understanding of CA traffic laws and courtroom strategies, we’ve successfully presented alternative viewpoints to judges, leading to reduced penalties or even dismissals. Sometimes, we’re able to secure a no-point conviction that will not result in NOTS or CSA severity points, though there are no guarantees.

Engaging a CA traffic attorney isn’t only about navigating the immediate legal challenge; it's about preserving your reputation, driving record, and, ultimately, your livelihood. A simple consultation could be the difference between a tarnished driving record and safeguarding your professional driving career.

Download our e-book, “Protecting Your Commercial Driver’s License” from our home page.

Contact Bigger & Harman, APC, When You’ve Been Charged with Following Too Close in Tulare County, CA

Bigger & Harman is a traffic law firm that routinely practices in the Porterville and Visalia Courthouses in Tulare County. Call our office at (661) 349-9300, utilize the convenient contact form or email us

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

CVC Section 27103, Driving, Overtaking, and Passing.

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