A job opportunity that has become more common in recent years is being a professional truck driver. You may have been looking at getting a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) or have begun to look at specific jobs and have heard about points on your CDL. What are these points, and why do they matter to a professional truck driver?
Points on a CDL are a way to track a driver’s traffic violations. Once a driver has between 6-10 points on their license it will be suspended or revoked, though the specific amount of points will depend on the state. Drivers may also lose their licenses for traffic violations outside of work hours.
While it is good to know what these points are, you may also want to know what you get these points from. You also might want to know if there are specific rules for each state or if there is a way to remove points from your CDL. With those questions in mind, here is some information to get you started on finding an answer.
What Can You Get Points From On A CDL License
A holder of a Commercial Drivers License is held to a higher standard than most drivers. With the additional training that comes when you get a CDL, as well as the role you play as a professional driver, you are expected to conduct yourself in a different way than a normal driver. Also, with the large size of the vehicles you drive, smaller issues that normally would not be noticeable in a personal vehicle are magnified and can quickly lead to issues where you could cause damage or serious injury to those around you or even yourself. For these reasons, there is a point system established for CDL holders that track driving-related infractions.
These points can come from a variety of sources. A general rule of thumb is that anything that could be considered a traffic violation or anything that would get you a ticket either in a semi or in a personal vehicle will incur points on your CDL. Here are some of the most common sources of points, as well as roughly how many points you should expect to earn if you make these driving errors.
- Excessive Speeding: 3 – 8 points, the points here will depend on how far you were above the posted speed limit.
- Not keeping to right [Lane]: 2 points
- Failure to signal or incorrect signal: 2 points
- Following closely: 2 points
- Driving in the wrong lane: 2 points
- Not having a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL): 2 points
- Driving when otherwise disqualified: 2 points
How Many Points Does It Take To Lose Your CDL License
Now that you know more about where you can get points on your CDL, you might be wondering how many of these points you can get before you lose your Commerical Drivers License. The simple answer to this is it depends. While this might be a bit frustrating, the fact is that there is not one CDL system for every state, so the numbers and cut-off lines will depend on where you are driving as well as some outside factors. There are some rough guidelines that we can give you, though, so read on for more information about these point limits.
The first thing we need to talk about is when you can have your CDL suspended. When your Commerical Drivers License is suspended, you are unable to use it but will get it back after a set period of time. While you will not lose your license completely, you will not be able to work, so it is best to avoid accumulating this many points.
A general rule of thumb is that if you get 8 points on your CDL over an 18-month period, your license will be suspended. Depending on the state, this could be as low as 6 points. The length of the suspension will depend on the number of offenses you have. For first-time offenders, your license will be suspended for 30 days. A second suspension will last 60 days. If this is your third or higher time being suspended, the suspension will last for 90 days.
You may also lose your license for a year if you accumulate a high amount of points within a short period of time. This includes getting 10 to 14 points within a two-month period, 15 to 20 points within a two-year period, or 24 points within three years. Remember that the number of these points can vary depending on where they were issued. For more information, you will need to check out the CDL standards for your state.
Can You Reduce The Number Of Points On A CDL License
You might be wondering if you can reduce the number of points on your Commerical Drivers License. Generally, there is no way to reduce the number of points collected on a CDL. Since you are a professional driver, the expectations on you are a bit higher, and the point system is meant to be a way to record your driving ability and safety over the entire time you have held the CDL.
However, there are a couple of ways that you might be able to remove points from your CDL, especially newer points. Many of the points are going to be from committing traffic violations and receiving a ticket. If you believe that you were improperly issued a ticket, you can fight the ticket in court. If the ticket is removed, then there is a good chance that the points will be removed from your CDL as well.
This is important to know if the ticket had cited you for multiple violations. You may have gained several points from this one ticket and may have even crossed the threshold into an automatic suspension. If you are able to fight the ticket and get it removed, you should be able to get the points removed from your CDL avoiding a suspension and the loss of income that would accompany it.