Unlike most drivers, an operator of a commercial motor vehicle relies on his or her commercial vehicle driver’s license as a direct means of income. As a result, a CDL driving violation has a more severe impact than an ordinary driving infraction. When confronted with a CDL violation, it is important to work with an attorney who has experience with these types of cases. Elias Damianakos is an Arizona Commercial Drivers License Vehicle Violations Attorney.
CDL drivers are not eligible for Arizona Defensive Driving School, which is normally an option for first time civil traffic violations. One of the most important considerations in effectively handling your CDL ticket in Arizona is the impact that it will have in your home state. As an Arizona Commercial Drivers License Vehicle Violations Attorney, I have defended hundreds of CDL drivers from all over the United States and Canada, and am familiar with the points system in your home state.
Arizona Commercial Vehicle Violations
Some of the more common CDL violations I handle include:
- False Log Book
- Unsafe Lane Change
- Civil and Criminal Speeding, including in a Work Zone
- Failure to Control Speed to Avoid an Accident
- Reckless Driving
- Operating Cell Phone or Handheld Device
- Overweight load
- Unsafe Equipment violation
There are also other issues and complications that can influence the handling of a CDL violation:
- Penalties. Trucking violations carry different penalties than non-CDL violations. A driver may be “disqualified” and lose his or her driving privileges for 60 to 120 days if two or more serious traffic violations occur within a 3-year period. These include: excessive speeding; reckless driving; improper or erratic lane changes; following a vehicle too closely; inattention and fatigued driving. A driver may be disqualified for a year if one or more violations for an out-of-service order or improper vehicle maintenance occur within a 10-year period.
- Current Guidelines. In July 2010, the Dept. of Transportation (CSA) issued new Federal Safety Regulations that have greatly affected CDL drivers in the United States. According to these new standards, each violation is given a severity level, including non-moving violations. A citation can no longer be reduced in order to prevent the violation from accruing points; it must either be dismissed or deferred prosecution.
- Out-of-State Violations. Due to the new Federal Regulations, driving records are monitored by the “CDLIS,” or a national database that can disqualify drivers based on out-of-state violations. Convictions for out-of-state violations are treated the same as convictions for violations that are committed in the home State. The CDLIS ensures that convictions that a driver receives out of his or her home State are transferred to the home State so that the disqualifications can be applied.
- Diverse Statutory Provisions. Penalties can vary from state to state. In California, for example, all CDL violations are multiplied by a 1.5-point value. Thus, if a driver receives a 2-point violation, it becomes 3 points on the record total.
- Classification. Violations can also vary in severity. For example, a False Logbook violation is classified as a misdemeanor, which is a crime.
CSA Program & CDL Drivers
In December 2010, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced its new safety program, Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA). While the initiative seeks to prevent and “reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicles,” its regulation and enforcement of new safety standards has serious consequences for commercial motor vehicle drivers.
The CSA Model consisted of three major components: measurement, evaluation, and intervention. CSA measures safety performance on the road according to 7 basic standards:
- Unsafe Driving: Includes speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, inattention, and other “unsafe” driving behaviors.
- Fatigued Driving: This is distinguished from incidents involving controlled substances, and is often subjected to the officer’s discretion.
- Driver Fitness: Drivers are determined unfit to operate a commercial motor vehicle based on “qualification” violations, including failure to have appropriate documentation (CDL, medical, and/or training).
- Controlled Substances/Alcohol: Includes on-site crash reports, drug testing for alcohol and/or drugs, and evaluation of company substance counseling programs.
- Vehicle Maintenance: Vehicle failure due to improper or inadequate maintenance. Includes violations for brakes, lights, and other mechanical failures, as well as evaluation of repair and maintenance records.
- Cargo-Related: Includes shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, and unsafe handling of hazardous materials.
- Crash Indicator: Measures histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity.
Importance of Retaining an Arizona Commercial Drivers License Vehicle Violations Attorney
Given these criteria, CSA conducts an evaluation of a driver. If a driver is deemed deficient in either unsafe or fatigued driving and cannot fix the problem, he or she will be rated “unfit.” Other serious violations can result in an “intervention,” for which various penalties are produced. These include warning letters, further investigations, and ultimately “unfit” suspension. If you have received a motor vehicle traffic violation, it is very important you seek experienced counsel in order to avoid these penalties and potential CDL suspension and disqualification.
Arizona CDL Violations
I have handled numerous cases that involve CDL violations in jurisdictions across Arizona, including Tucson, Nogales, Bowie, Willcox, Phoenix, and Marana. As an experienced CDL attorney, I have experience dealing with the variety of issues that can complicate a commercial driver’s case and am committed to aggressive representation in these matters. Due to the potential impact that a CDL violation on a commercial driver, consulting with an experienced Arizona Commercial Drivers License Vehicle Violations Attorney is essential.