Can You Lose Your Commercial Driver’s License Over an Accident?

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  • Transporting goods requires a great level of skill and attention from commercial drivers.
  • Depending on the circumstances, it is possible to have your CDL suspended or revoked after an accident.
  • A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required for anyone who drives a commercial vehicle for a living or regularly.
  • Possible reasons for CDL revocation/suspension include driving under the influence (DUI) and medical conditions.
  • If faced with suspension/revocation, one should know the reasons, seek legal help, file an appeal, and comply with requirements.

Transporting goods from one point to another requires great skill and attention from commercial drivers. However, despite their experience on the road, accidents can still happen. This leads to questions such as, can you lose your commercial driver’s license over an accident?

The answer is not a straightforward one and depends on various factors. Is it possible to have your CDL suspended or revoked after an accident? The answer is yes, depending on the severity of the incident.

What is a Commercial Driver’s License?

A commercial driver’s license, or CDL for short, is a special license that allows you to operate a commercial vehicle, such as a tractor-trailer, bus, or tanker truck. It is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and issued by each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

A CDL is required for anyone who drives a commercial vehicle for a living or regularly, whether for a private company, a government agency or as an owner-operator. It is not the same as a regular driver’s license, as it requires higher skill, knowledge, and responsibility.

Possible Reasons for CDL Revocation/Suspension

Several circumstances can lead to your CDL being suspended or revoked. This includes, but is not limited to:

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

a book for DUI law

A DUI conviction, in most cases, will result in an automatic CDL suspension. A first offence can range from 12-36 months, and if accompanied by hazardous materials, it can result in a lifetime CDL ban. DUI convictions also reflect on the driver’s regular driving record, causing significant insurance premium hikes.

Medical conditions

Commercial driving is physically and mentally demanding. Therefore, CDL holders must pass a medical exam every two years to meet all necessary physical requirements. Certain medical conditions may lead to CDL revocation/suspension, such as vision or hearing impairments, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Violating traffic laws

Commercial drivers are subject to higher standards and stricter regulations than regular drivers. CDL holders are held to this standard even when off-duty. If convicted of a traffic violation like reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, or causing a fatality while driving, they risk their CDL being revoked/suspended.

Non-compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations

The FMCSA outlines several regulations regarding commercial driving, such as hours of service regulations, documentation requirements, and testing requirements. Drivers who fail to comply with these regulations may face CDL suspension/revocation.

What to Do When Faced With Suspension/Revocation

If your CDL is suspended or revoked, you can appeal the decision. This can be a daunting experience, as it can put your job and financial security at risk. However, there are steps that you can take to fight a suspension or revocation and protect your career.

Know the Reasons Behind the Suspension/Revocation

The first step in fighting a suspension or revocation is knowing why your license is being suspended or revoked. Was it due to a traffic violation, accident, or medical condition? Whatever the reason, it is essential to know the specifics of the suspension/revocation to formulate a plan of action.

Seek Legal Help

man talking to a lawyer

Next, seek the help of a lawyer specializing in traffic and driving-related offenses. They can advise you on the best course of action and help you navigate the often-complex legal system. For instance, a lawyer specializing in a minor car accident can help you fight CDL license suspension/revocation if the accident is not severe and does not cause a safety risk to the public. They can also help you challenge false accusations and work with the DMV to reinstate your license.

File an Appeal

You can file an appeal if you have been issued a suspension or revocation notice. This involves presenting your case to an appeals board, which will decide whether to restore your license. The appeal process can be complicated and time-consuming, so it is essential to have the help of a lawyer who can guide you through it.

Comply with the Suspension/ Revocation Requirements

If you cannot fight the suspension/ revocation, comply with all the requirements set out by the DMV or court. This could include a period of rest, payment of fines, completion of a defensive driving course, or other requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to even more severe consequences, so it is essential to take them seriously.

In conclusion, if you are a commercial driver, you must know the risks involved in your job. Accidents happen, but as a driver, you can minimize the possibility of getting involved. Always drive defensively, keep yourself and other road users safe, and follow federal regulations and state laws. Doing so will reduce the chances of losing your CDL and help you continue enjoying your commercial driver career.


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