One of the most frequently asked questions from those considering a CDL career is whether or not their driving record will affect their ability to enter the trucking industry as a driver.
And the answer is - it depends. Certain incidents can hurt one’s chances of becoming a CDL driver, and other incidents will not have much of a negative impact. Let’s look at some examples below.
1) Type of Ticket Received
How a ticket will affect your CDL career depends on the type of ticket you receive. Certain offenses disqualify you from getting (or keeping) your CDL and from ever applying for one again, including serious offenses like:
- Operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above the accepted limit
- Committing manslaughter with a vehicle
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Using a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony
Other tickets usually will not have very serious consequences, like those for:
- Minor speeding
- Incorrect parking
These can become an issue, however, if you get multiple tickets for the same offense over a certain period of time. See point number 2 below.
2) Multiple Tickets
Multiple tickets are legislated on a statewide level, so each state will have different rules for how many tickets in what period of time may result in your license getting revoked.
In some states, for example, getting two or more tickets in a six-month time period may result in the temporary suspension of your commercial driver’s license. Getting more tickets in a shorter time frame may result in your CDL being permanently revoked.
Also important to note is that some trucking companies will not hire a driver with three or more speeding violations in a three-year period, even though his license is valid.
3) Driving Patterns and History
You can bet that employers and insurers will be examining your driving history when making decisions about employment and insurance. Received a couple of tickets over the past ten or so years? They should not be an issue.
If on the other hand, you consistently receive tickets, it will give the impression that you are a reckless driver and too high of a risk for them to hire you and to be able to obtain insurance for a commercial vehicle.