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undefinedCA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22406, Speed Laws, stipulates which vehicles must conform to the 55 mph statewide speed limit:

These vehicles include:

“(a) A motortruck or truck tractor having three or more axles or any motortruck or truck tractor drawing any other vehicle.

(b) A passenger vehicle or bus drawing any other vehicle.

(c) A school bus transporting any school pupil.

(d) A farm labor vehicle when transporting passengers.

(e) A vehicle transporting explosives.

(f) A trailer bus.”—CVC Section 22406Speed Laws.

Basically, any vehicle with three or more axles, a vehicle towing another vehicle, or any vehicle with explosive cargo is limited to 55 mph on any roadway in CA.

In California, speeding excessively in a CMV is not a traffic infraction—it is a misdemeanor crime, according to CVC Section 22406.1.

“(a) A person who operates a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 15210, upon a highway at a speed exceeding a posted speed limit established under this code by 15 miles per hour or more, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”—CVC Section 22406.1Speed Laws.

There are instances where a commercial driver could be driving 15 or more mph over the speed limit, which is not a misdemeanor. For instance, when driving 55 mph on a road posted for trucks at 35 or 40 mph maximum, such as on the Grapevine or Donner Pass, when the speed limit suddenly drops due to a steep grade.

However, if a commercial driver is convicted of a misdemeanor for speeding excessively in California, they will have a criminal record that could stay with them for life. A commercial driver should remain silent and hire a traffic lawyer with trial experience before answering questions or making any statement to law enforcement officers or court officials. 

The Consequences of Speeding Excessively at the DOT FMCSA

Once convicted of speeding excessively in CA, the DMV will notify the DOT FMCSA of your conviction. The first offense will result in a maximum assessment of ten (CSA) severity points, which could be multiplied by a time-weight of two or three. 

When the driver or carrier has a similar conviction within the last six months, the severity points are multiplied by three. If the similar conviction was six months to a year earlier, then the multiple is two, and if it has been more than one year, the CSA severity points are entered at face value on the driver’s Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record or the carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) percentile.

The driver’s points will remain on their PSP for three years, while the motor carrier’s SMS percentile will be affected for two years.    

However, for the commercial driver, if there is a second conviction of a serious offense within three years of the first conviction, 49 CFR Part 383.51, Paragraph 6.2.5Disqualification of Drivers, mandates a driver disqualification of 60 days, a third 120 days, and a fourth, a one year prohibition from driving a CMV. 

However, the filing of the report in a commercial driver’s PSP could have long-lasting effects and make it more difficult to get a driving position after the disqualification period is over if their fleet terminates them rather than wait for them to complete their penalty.  

All fleets are required by law to consider a driver’s PSP before hiring a driver.

Contact Bigger & Harman Immediately If Cited for Speeding Excessively, a Misdemeanor in a CMV

When you are cited for speeding excessively in a CMV, consult the legal professionals at Bigger & Harman about your misdemeanor charge before making a statement to court officials in Bakersfield Courthouse.   

Actually, that statement could be considered an “oxymoron,” as there are no other misdemeanor speeding offenses in CA, other than in a CMV. A non-commercial driver will never be charged with a misdemeanor for speeding.

“(a) A person who operates a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 15210, upon a highway at a speed exceeding a posted speed limit established under this code by 15 miles per hour or more, is guilty of a misdemeanor.” — CVC Section 22406.1Speed Laws.

Contact the Bakersfield traffic defense team of Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300.

We are an experienced team of traffic attorneys who have trial defense experience. We offer commercial drivers a no-obligation initial consultation.

Use our convenient online contact form or email us at

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.

CVC Sections 22406 & 22406.1Speed Laws.

The DOT FMCSA CFR Part 383.31, Notification of Convictions for Driver Violations.

The DOT FMCSA Factsheet, What is CSA—and how does it affect me?

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