Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today

undefinedCommercial drivers face unique challenges on the road, and one seemingly minor infraction can have significant consequences. Following too close, also known as tailgating, falls into this category. While a conviction in CA might appear manageable, the DOT FMCSA paints a more severe picture.

At Bigger & Harman, APC, we understand the complexities commercial drivers face and can help navigate the legalities behind following too close accusations.

More Than Just a Ticket: The Dual Impact of a Following Too Close Conviction

In CA, following too close is considered an infraction, resulting in a fine of around $238 and 1.5 Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points. While it is a minor infraction in CA, it carries a significant impact at the DOT FMCSA.

When the CA DMV forwards notice of conviction for a moving violation to the FMCSA, where the seriousness of the offense is elevated. The FMCSA considers following too close a "serious offense", resulting in five Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) severity points for the carrier and on the driver’s Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record for three years.

Subsequent following too close convictions within the three-year window trigger escalating consequences when convicted of a:

  • Second offense: 60-day driver disqualification
  • Third offense: 120-day driver disqualification
  • Fourth offense: One-year driver disqualification

These harsh penalties can jeopardize your career. A fleet manager will probably not keep your driving position open while you serve your driver disqualification. What’s more, your conviction affects their fleet insurance premium and Safety Measurement System (SMS) percentile. Then, once terminated, any new fleet must consider your PSP before hiring you.

Don't underestimate the severity – if you receive a following too close citation, consulting a CA traffic attorney to dispute your violation in court is almost mandatory for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders.

Preventative Measures to Avoid Following Too Close Tickets

While legal guidance is invaluable when facing a citation, prevention is always the best approach. Here are some simple yet effective techniques to avoid following too close:

  • Use the 3-second rule: Maintain a minimum of 3 seconds of following distance between you and the vehicle ahead or more at higher speeds—increase the distance in adverse weather or heavy traffic.
  • Focus on the big picture: Pay attention to traffic flow and potential hazards ahead, not just the vehicle directly in front.
  • Slow Down When Cut off: When a four-wheeler cuts you off, immediately slow down, as a law enforcement officer parked on the shoulder always sees the bigger vehicle and typically blames the commercial driver.
  • Stay calm and avoid aggressive driving: Impatience and frustration often lead to tailgating, especially for inexperienced drivers.

Regardless of how you got close to the vehicle in front of you, as a commercial driver, you are likely to be charged with following too close. Getting cut off by four-wheel vehicles coming onto the freeway is common for most big rig drivers.

When Prevention Fails: Consult a CA Traffic Attorney

We understand that navigating legal jargon can be intimidating. That's why our traffic attorneys will explain everything in clear, understandable language.

Remember, even a minor infraction can have significant consequences for commercial drivers. If prevention fails, consult a CA traffic attorney – your career might depend on it.

Contact Bigger & Harman Immediately After a Misdemeanor Speeding Charge

Don't hesitate to contact us if you receive a traffic ticket for following too close. We can help you explore options to dispute the ticket, possibly negotiate a no-point violation, which will minimize the impact on your CA motor vehicle driving record (MVR), and protect your livelihood.

We are familiar with the Victorville Courthouse, many patrol officers, the judges, and the court staff. We will submit the necessary documents on your behalf to request a no-point violation or complete dismissal when warranted.

Call us at (661) 349-9300, utilize our handy online contact form or email us

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

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


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

The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

CA VC Section 21703, Driving, Overtaking, and Passing.

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

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