Commercial drivers convicted of driving violations could lose license under new proposal

by Canadian Shipper

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing a requirement that would see drivers of large trucks or buses disqualified from driving if convicted of certain offenses while driving any vehicle.

This would apply to drivers who are subject to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA).

"It makes perfect sense to hold CMV drivers accountable for driving convictions while operating any type of motor vehicle. Because of the importance of their job, these drivers should be held to the highest standard of safety. This requirement would improve truck safety and support the Bush Administration’s goal to reduce the number of truck-related fatalities," said acting deputy FMCSA administrator Julie Anna Cirillo.

The proposed rule would require states to disqualify a driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) if convicted, and employers would have to prohibit these disqualified drivers from operating commercial motor vehicles.

The FMCSA estimates that nearly 500 CMV-related crashes would be avoided annually as a result of these disqualifications.

Offenses that would disqualify a convicted driver include drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident, committing a general or substance-related felony, violating railroad-highway grade crossing signs, excessive speeding, and reckless driving. Disqualification would mean suspension, revocation or cancellation of a CDL by the issuing state. The time period for disqualification would vary according to the offense involved.

The FMCSA proposed that CDL holders convicted of serious traffic violations and other offenses in either a non-CMV or CMV serve the same period of disqualification that would occur had the convicted driver been driving a CMV.

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