Thomas Carroll Blauvelt

Traffic violations can put a commercial driver’s license at risk

The Garden State has a thriving trucking industry, and the safe operation of commercial vehicles is unquestionably important given how many are on the roads at any given time. Truck drivers carry a significant responsibility, and a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is their passport to this profession.

However, traffic violations can jeopardize this credential. That’s why it’s important for truck drivers to explore some common offenses that can put a New Jersey truck driver’s CDL at risk.

Serious traffic violations and point system

The Garden State’s point system assigns points to traffic violations. While some minor infractions may only carry a few points, serious violations come with a heavier penalty. Two or more serious violations within a three-year period can lead to a CDL suspension.

Exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph or more is considered a serious offense. Given the size and weight of commercial vehicles, even moderate speeding significantly increases the risk of accidents.

Maintaining a safe following distance is crucial for all drivers, especially for tractor-trailers. Tailgating can drastically reduce reaction time in case of a sudden stop.

Reckless driving encompasses a variety of dangerous maneuvers, including aggressive speeding, weaving through traffic and disregarding traffic signals. Essentially, any action demonstrating a willful disregard for safety falls under this category.

Failing to use turn signals properly, not checking blind spots or making sudden lane changes can all lead to serious accidents. Basically, any traffic violation that contributes to an accident, especially one that causes fatalities, may likely be considered serious.

Additional CDL disqualification offenses

Beyond the point system, certain offenses can lead to immediate CDL disqualification. Truck drivers are held to a stricter standard than regular drivers. A first-time DUI offense with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04% or higher can result in a one-year CDL suspension, and a repeat offense can lead to permanent disqualification.

Additionally, refusing a breathalyzer or other test to determine alcohol or drug use is treated similarly to a DUI conviction. Moreover, fleeing an accident scene, regardless of severity, is a serious offense and can result in CDL disqualification. It’s also crucial to note that operating a commercial vehicle with a suspended CDL is a major violation.

By understanding the risks and taking preventative measures, New Jersey truck drivers can more effectively safeguard their CDL and help to better ensure a safe and successful career on the road. That said, truck drivers whose driver’s licenses are already at risk can benefit from personalized legal guidance, as even the most safety-conscious individuals may make mistakes – or suffer as a result of misunderstandings – from time to time.

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