If you are in the trucking industry in the United States, you are well aware of the effort that goes into getting a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) driver. CDL drivers are trained to drive Commercial Motor Vehicles(CMV). All CDL drivers are bound by special rules that are strict, and violating them can result in penalties or disqualification of their CDL.
Here is an interesting fact: Did you know that from 2010 to 2014, about 9% of all enforcement actions taken by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) for violations were actually driver-qualification violations? Though some drivers were disqualified on the grounds of health, that still puts a significantly high number of CDL drivers getting disqualified for violating laws. Are you aware of what violations can disqualify your CDL Drivers?
Let’s delve a bit deeper into the kind of violations that can disqualify your CDL driver!
As a fleet operator or owner of a trucking business, you must know that each of your truck drivers needs to meet a specific set of requirements before they are granted their CDL. Even after they are granted their license, drivers need to follow a set number of rules to continue possessing their license. There can be many reasons such as an accident while driving a CMV or the driver’s own personal vehicle, for instance, that can impact a driver’s CDL.
There are two main categories under which a CDL driver may be disqualified:
A CDL driver who has lost his/her driving privileges due to revocation, suspension, withdrawal or denial of his operator license or permit, stands disqualified from driving until his license has been restored and he is legally permitted to drive again. As a trucking business owner, a CDL driver who is disqualified from driving a CMV and working for you must inform you of the same until his license or permit has been restored or returned to him.
According to American State and Federal Regulations, a driver who is convicted of (or forfeits bond or collateral upon a charge of) a disqualifying offence specified in paragraph (c)(2) of 49 CFR 391.15 is disqualified for the period of time specified in paragraph (c)(3) of 49 CFR 391.15.
It is therefore important for you to conduct a thorough background check of the drivers you hire to make sure they are not disqualified from driving or have their CDL revoked due to criminal or other offences.
The government of the USA has designated violations or offences that can disqualify your CDL driver into two broad headings– Serious and Major.
According to the Federal government, ‘serious’ violations that can disqualify your CDL driver are:
While the Federal law is all-encompassing throughout the USA, many states add few more violations to the above-mentioned list, making it stricter. Examples of such violations include failure to provide help or aid in a hit-and-run case or possessing alcohol in the vehicle without a permit.
According to the Federal government, ‘major’ violations that can disqualify your CDL driver include:
Based on the number of times a driver has violated traffic rules, his/her CDL disqualification varies.
If a CDL driver violates an out-of-service order, he/she and/or the CMV are off the roads until the violation has been corrected.
Hiring CDL drivers with experience and no violations at the time of hiring is advisable for all trucking companies to reduce any chance of legal trouble. In order to do so, you must do a proper check of your new hires and inculcate a safe culture within your company.
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