Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) are required to operate certain motor vehicles. These typically include commercial vehicles that have a gross weight of over 26,000 pounds, such as:
- Tractor-trailers (“big rigs”)
- Hazardous material transports
Obtaining a commercial driver’s license is much like obtaining a non-commercial license from a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The candidate will be required to take a series of examinations, and is also required to furnish proof of training with a certified organization. Commercial driver’s licenses are further subdivided into different categories based on the weight and purpose of the vehicle.
Are Commercial Drivers Held to Different Standards than Other Drivers?
Yes, holders of CDL’s are held to a higher standard of responsibility and will be subjected to greater penalties if they violate the rules of the road. This is because operating a commercial vehicle usually requires a greater amount of skill and care than standard automobiles. CDL holders who break the law may be subjected to consequences such as:
- More points on one’s driving record for violations (usually ½ point higher than normal)
- No traffic school is available to clear the driving record of violations
- Certain offenses may be elevated to a misdemeanor charge. Misdemeanors can result in fines and/or jail time of less than one year.
- Furthermore, violations of CDL provisions can lead to a suspension or complete confiscation of driving privileges, potentially resulting in a loss of employment for the commercial driver.
How Do Drunk Driving Charges Affect a Commercial License?
Most states hold commercial drivers to higher standards in terms of drunk driving (DUI) and blood alcohol content limits. For instance, commercial drivers are usually limited to maximum of .04% blood alcohol when operating a commercial vehicle.