Worst day ever. You get pulled over while hauling your load and end up with a moving violation. You’ve been busted for speeding as a trucker. For starters you have to worry about your truck driving job particularly if you are a repeat offender. This will definitely go on your truck driving record, your CSA score and your DAT report. It’s going to haunt you for years to come. But maybe it’s not all that bad. What really happens if you get a speeding ticket on your CDL?
Speeding Tickets on OTR Trucking Jobs
If you are driving your big rig on a route and you are caught speeding, you face harsher penalties than the average Joe. In fact, even if you get a speeding ticket when you aren’t on a trucking job you can face stiffer penalties. Any traffic violations or moving violations that you incur while a trucker are devastating to your career. Avoid at all costs.
Why? For starters a trucking company is not going to want to hire a driver who can’t follow the rules of the road. Secondly their insurance company will not let them hire you. If your commercial driving record is marred by moving violations including speeding tickets you become a risk and road hazard. By hiring you, a company will have to put their own neck on the line, and you can bet that most trucking companies won’t risk it. So you shouldn’t risk it either. Keep the speed under control, trucker.
Commercial Driver’s License Dinged by Points
Now let’s say it’s already happened. You have been busted as a speeder. What happens now?
If you have been caught speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit, this is considered a serious traffic offense for truckers.
If you are also found to be recklessly driving this is an additional serious traffic offense.
Following too closely or improper lane changing will also cause you get a serious traffic offense on your CDL.
If you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while speeding, this is a major violation.
If you are committing a felony while speeding this is also a major violation.
The difference between a serious offense and a major violation is notable for a commercial truck driver. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) if you have a serious offense, i.e. you are caught speeding, you could lose your commercial driver’s license.
Getting Disqualified for Speeding as a Trucker
However, a serious offense isn’t as hefty of a penalty on your CDL compared to a major violation. If you have a major violation, for example you are caught drinking and driving a big rig, you automatically lose your CDL for one year if you are found guilty. If you are caught speeding, the penalties aren’t as severe:
The first time you are caught speeding you do not lose your CDL. You can consider this a warning call.
If you are caught and convicted of speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit a second time, in a three-year period, you will lose your CDL for 60 days. This applies whether you are driving a commercial truck or your own vehicle.
If you have a third conviction for speeding 15 mph or more, within the three-year period of your first two convictions, you will lose your CDL for 120 days.
So if you are caught speeding more than 15 mph over you get in serious trouble, but what about speeding less than 15 mph? If you receive any speeding tickets while driving a commercial vehicle for your trucking company you are required to report these immediately to your supervisor. If you are caught speeding in a non-commercial vehicle you should also tell your employer. That’s because your driving record for your overall driving history affects your trucking job. While you may not be penalized by your boss for speeding off the job, this could cause an increase in the insurance coverage cost for your employer. You become a more risky driver with every speeding ticket you get, both off the job and behind the wheel of a big rig. Honesty is always the best policy.
What if you get caught speeding more than 15 mph over the speed limit, and you choose to fight this in court? If you do not get convicted of speeding in excess of 15 mph over the speed limit, then you will not be charged with a serious offense on your CDL. If you are at risk of losing your CDL due to previous speeding tickets and other serious offenses, such as reckless driving, it can be worth the extra cost for an attorney and court fees to fight the ticket. After all, this is your trucking career that will be in jeopardy if you lose your CDL for speeding.