Commercial Driver License Suspension or Disqualification
A Commercial Driver can lose their privilege to drive in multiple ways. Understanding the way that they have lost commercial driving privileges can give insight on how these privileges can be restored. There are three overarching ways that a person can lose their ability to drive a commercial vehicle. While each of these ways vary in severity and the amount of time the person can not drive a commercial vehicle, they all have the potential to wreck a driving career.
The first way that a CDL holder can lose their license is through a suspension. This suspension is complete; the person loses their underlying license as well. In other words, the person is not even eligible to hold an ordinary Class C license. The person can not even drive their own personal vehicle.
A suspension can occur in one of a variety of ways. Of course, it makes sense that if a person is ineligible to get an ordinary license, that they are unable to get a Commercial Drivers License. One example of how a person can be suspended is if they accrue too many drivers license points. They will lose their ordinary class C license as well as their CDL.
The second way a person could lose their CDL is to be disqualified. This differs from a suspension in that a person is simply disqualified from holding a CDL, but is still eligible to get an ordinary Class C license. So they are able to get an ordinary drivers license issued, but are not eligible to hold a commercial drivers license for the length of time that they are disqualified.
For example, a driver could be disqualified without having their license suspended is a railway grade crossing violation. There are several other ways that a commercial driver may find themselves disqualified.
A combination of two serious traffic violations within three years will result in at least a 60 day disqualification. A combination of three serious traffic violations within three years will result in a 120 day disqualification. So what is a serious traffic violation?
Excessive speeding (traveling more than 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit), reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following too closely, or breaking a traffic law that results in a fatality. There are a few other ways to lose your CDL, like driving a vehicle you don’t have the proper license or endorsement for, or driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL.
Many disqualifications are based on driving and the consumption of alcohol. Operating a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content in excess of .04 will result in disqualification for at least one year. If the person is under the influence of alcohol or any other drugs they can lose their license as well. If the person refuses to provide a sample for chemical analysis, they automatically loose their license for one year.
In addition, if it is a person’s second time for refusing chemical analysis, they will lose their CDL for life. Even if it is the first offense, if the person was driving a commercial motor vehicle that was placarded for Hazardous materials, they will lose their license for three years.
The third and final way that a person can lose their ability to drive a commercial vehicle is through an out of service order. This is a temporary restriction that makes the person unable to drive a commercial vehicle for a very short amount of time. Violation of an out of service order, however, can result in disqualification.
One way to get an out of service order is to have any detectable alcohol in your bloodstream below .04. This out of service order will be in effect for 24 hours. The first violation of an out of service order will result in disqualification for at least 90 days. The second violation of a service order within 10 years will result in at least a one year disqualification. A third or subsequent violation of an out of service order within a 10 year period will result in at least a 3 year disqualification.
No matter the way that you lose your privilege to drive a commercial vehicle, it can have drastic effects on your career as a commercial driver. You could lose your job for losing your license, or at the least have to take time away from driving while the suspension, disqualification, or out of service order is in place. As a commercial driver, you have to protect your CDL in order to keep your ability to drive to make money.