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undefinedSince California enacted the amendment to CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 23123.5Driving OffensesAB-47, Distracted Driving, a second CMV cell phone ticket could put commercial drivers in serious jeopardy of losing their livelihood. Discussing all tickets with a CA traffic attorney before taking action would be wise. It could save you time, money, and your career.  

How AB-47, Distracted Driving Alters the Approach to CMV Cell Phone Tickets

Cell phones have become an integral part of our lives. However, when it comes to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, the rules regarding cell phone use in CA are getting more stringent thanks to AB-47. 

The passage of Assembly Bill 47 (AB-47) in California has brought significant changes to the way CMV cell phone tickets are handled. All drivers convicted of a second distracted driving charge or paid fine within three years are subject to negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points. 

However, if convicted, a second cell phone ticket within three years could mean a 60-day driver disqualification for commercial drivers. Therefore, it is wise to hire an attorney to attempt to get the first ticket dismissed or changed to a non-moving violation to preclude a driver disqualification. 

CMV drivers, in fact, all drivers, are prohibited from using handheld cell phones while operating their vehicles, even if they are temporarily stopped in traffic. Violations of this law can result in CMV cell phone tickets, which can have far-reaching consequences for commercial drivers and their employers.

The Fine of $260 for a Cell Phone Ticket Is Nearly Irrelevant

While the fine for a CMV cell phone ticket may seem relatively minor at $260, it's essential to recognize that the true cost of such a citation extends beyond the monetary penalty. CMV drivers may face a driver disqualification, potential termination, and damage to their professional reputation.

Once the DMV is notified of your paid fine or conviction for a second illegal cell phone use ticket, they will assess NOTS points and notify the FMCSA of your second conviction within three years. That could initiate a driver disqualification of 60 days. 

The DMV Will Assess 1.5 NOTS Points — But the FMCSA Sees It as a Serious Offense

All moving violations are assigned Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) severity points, filed in their Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record for three years.

In commercial driving, particularly for fleet drivers, every mile counts, and the time spent dealing with the consequences of a cell phone ticket can be far more costly than the initial fine.

CMV drivers must understand that addressing CMV cell phone tickets is not just about paying a fine; it's about safeguarding their livelihoods and future. Every negative mark on their PSP affects their reputation and negotiating power with potential employees.

You Need a Traffic Attorney to Dispute Every CMV Cell Phone Ticket

Considering the consequences of CMV cell phone tickets, it's clear that CMV drivers need professional legal assistance to dispute these citations effectively. 

Traffic attorneys with experience handling commercial driving cases are well-versed in the nuances of the law and can navigate the complexities of the legal system on your behalf.

By hiring a traffic attorney, CMV drivers can:

  • Protect Their CDL: An attorney can work to minimize or eliminate the impact of a cell phone ticket on a driver's CDL. Sometimes, traffic attorneys can get a non-moving plea bargain from the judge, ensuring they can continue to operate commercially.
  • Challenge the Citation: Experienced traffic attorneys know how to investigate the circumstances surrounding the ticket and identify potential defenses or flaws in the case.
  • Navigate Complex Legal Procedures: Legal proceedings can be challenging to navigate, especially for CMV drivers who are constantly on the road. An attorney can represent you in court, so you don't have to appear in person, allowing you to focus on your job.

CMV cell phone tickets are not to be taken lightly, given their potential to disrupt a commercial driver's career and livelihood.

With the introduction of AB-47 and the strict enforcement of cell phone use, CMV drivers must seek legal counsel.

A knowledgeable traffic attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process, helping CMV drivers protect their CDLs and driving future. Please don't underestimate the importance of professional legal representation when mastering CMV cell phone tickets.

Consult Bigger & Harman About a CMV Cell Phone Ticket in Woodland, CA 

Choose Bigger & Harman, APC, when facing CMV cell phone tickets. We offer a free initial consultation — even by phone or email. We will handle all the required documents and resolve your ticket in Woodland Courthouse, as per our discussion, for a flat fee.

Not all illegal cell phone use tickets are likely winnable, so it’s important not to pay the fine for that first ticket and get stuck with a second.  

Contact us at (661) 349-9300 or use our user-friendly contact form or email We’re here for you. 

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

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

CVC Section 23123.5Driving Offenses, & AB-47, Distracted Driving.

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

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