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Commercial Driver's License (CDL) suspensions

Commercial drivers are held to higher standards than regular drivers due to the nature of their work. You can be legally disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for any offense which you commit, even if not operating a commercial vehicle.

Table of Contents

CDL Disqualifications

All commercial driver's license (CDL) disqualifications are mandatory by law.

  • The RMV does not have discretion on these disqualifications.
  • An operator with a CDL disqualification is not eligible to apply for a hardship license.
  • Hearings for CDL disqualifications are not granted. However, you may request a hearing to dispute the accuracy of the RMV's record only. If you feel that an error has been made, you will need to present documentation to demonstrate that you were found not guilty or not responsible for the reported violation.

For more information, please refer to the CDL Manual. 

If your license has been suspended, you must meet certain requirements to have your license reinstated

Major offenses

For any combination of the following, you will be disqualified from holding a CDL for at least 1 year for a 1st offense and life for a 2nd offense: 

  • Driving any vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance (illegal drugs)
  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMS) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04% of more. 
  • Refusing to take an alcohol test as required by law while driving any vehicle
  • Leaving the scene of an accident while driving any vehicle
  • Using any vehicle to commit a felony
  • Causing a fatality through negligent operation while operating a CMV
  • Driving a CMV when, as a result of a prior violation committed in a CMV, your CDL was suspended, revoked, or cancelled. 

If any of the above offenses occur while you are operating a CMV that is placarded for hazardous materials, you will lose your CDL for at least 3 years.

You will also lose your CDL for life if you use any vehicle to commit a felony involving the manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing of controlled substances.

Serious traffic violations

You will lose your CDL:

  • For at least 60 days for 2 serious traffic violations within a 3 year period
  • For at least 120 days for 3 serious traffic violations within a 3 year period

Serious traffic violations are defined as:

  • Excessive speeding (15 mph or more above posted limit)
  • Reckless driving or improper or erratic lane changes
  • Following a vehicle too closely
  • Traffic offenses committed in connection with fatal traffic accidents
  • Driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL
  • Driving a CMV without a CDL in your possession
  • Driving a CMV without the proper class of CDL and/or endorsement

Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing

If you are convicted of driving a CMV in violation of federal, state, or local law at a railroad crossing, you will lose your CDL for 60 days for a first offense, 120 days for a second offense, and one year for a 3rd or subsequent offense for any combination of the following:

  • Failure to slow down and check that the tracks are clear of an approaching train
  • Failure to stop before reaching the crossing when the tracks are not clear
  • Failure to stop before driving onto the crossing
  • Failure to have sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping
  • Failure to obey a traffic control device or the directions of an enforcement official at the crossing
  • Failure to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance. 

Violating out-of-service orders

For safety reasons, certain commercial vehicles requiring a CDL have limitations on the number of hours you can drive before a mandated break/rest period. This period is referred to as being out-of-service.

If, while operating a CMV transporting non-hazardous materials, you are convicted of violating an out-of-service order, you will lose your CDL for 90 days to one year for a 1st offense, one year to 5 years for a 2nd offense, and 3 years to 5 years for a 3rd or subsequent offense.

If, while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded or while operating a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, you are convicted of violating an out-of-service order, you will lose your CDL for 180 days to 2 years for a 1st offense, and 3 years to 5 years for a 2nd, 3rd or subsequent offense.

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