Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Disqualification
If you're a commercial driver in Georgia, it's crucial to be aware of the different types of traffic violations that can result in a disqualification of your commercial driver's license (CDL). The state of Georgia enforces strict regulations to ensure the safety of all drivers on the road, and violating those regulations can lead to a suspension or revocation of your CDL. From major traffic violations in any type of motor vehicle to traffic violations only committed in a CMV (commercial motor vehicle), there are a variety of categories of traffic violations that can result in a CDL disqualification. However, it's important to note that there are steps you can take to reinstate your CDL after a disqualification. Here, we'll go over the various disqualifications and provide information on how to reinstate your CDL once you've been disqualified.
Categories of CDL Disqualifications
In the state of Georgia, commercial driver's license (CDL) holders are held to a higher standard when it comes to road safety and adherence to traffic laws. There are four main categories for CDL disqualification: major traffic violations, serious traffic violations, railroad grade crossing violations, and out-of-service order violations; there is also a failure to weigh violation. Each type carries its own penalties, ranging from fines to suspension or revocation of the normal driver's license - in addition to a disqualification of a CDL. In this section, we will delve into each of these categories, shedding light on the specific violations and their corresponding consequences, to help CDL drivers in Georgia better understand the rules they must follow to maintain their driving privileges.
Major Traffic Violations for CDL Disqualification
Major traffic violations are a significant category for CDL disqualification in Georgia. It is crucial to note that these violations apply regardless of whether they were committed in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) or a non-commercial motor vehicle (unless otherwise stated), and irrespective of whether they occurred in Georgia or any other jurisdiction. The list of major traffic violations includes:
- DUI of any kind (per se, less safe, or drugs/inhalants)
- Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident
- Failure to report striking an unattended vehicle
- Failure to report striking a fixed object
- Failure to report an accident
- Any felony where a motor vehicle was used to commit the crime
- Homicide by vehicle
- Driving a CMV while the CDL privilege has been disqualified or otherwise taken away
- Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony involving controlled substances
- Using a CMV to commit the crime of trafficking individuals
- Using a motor vehicle to attempt to flee or elude law enforcement
- Operating any motor vehicle with invalid registration
- Making false statements on a driver's license application or exam
- Theft of a CMV or its cargo
- Implied consent refusal to the state test after a DUI arrest
The consequences for using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony involving controlled substances are severe: a lifetime disqualification of all CDL privileges with no possibility of reduction. For the first conviction of these other offenses listed occurring in a CMV transporting hazardous materials requiring a placard, there is an immediate 3-year disqualification of the CDL. For the rest of these offenses, the consequences are as follows: a first conviction results in a one-year disqualification of your CDL, while a second conviction leads to a lifetime disqualification.
Serious Traffic Violations for CDL Disqualification
For individuals holding a Commercial Driver's License (CDL), there are specific traffic violations that can result in the disqualification of their license. These offenses apply to any person, regardless of their license class, and count when committed in a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) or any other vehicle if explicitly stated. The convictions and their consequences hold true whether they occurred in Georgia or any other jurisdiction.
List of Serious Traffic Violations
- Speeding 15 or more miles per hour over the posted limit
- Reckless driving
- Improper or erratic lane change (including failure to signal a lane change)
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Any traffic violation in connection with a fatal accident (except for Homicide by Vehicle, which is a Major Traffic Violation)
- A railroad grade crossing violation if committed in a non-commercial vehicle (affects your Georgia CDL privilege only)
- Operating a CMV without a CDL
- Operating a CMV without your CDL in your immediate possession
- Operating a CMV without the proper endorsements on your CDL
- Violation of the hands-free law
Consequences for Violations
The consequences for these serious traffic violations depend on the number of convictions within a 3-year period:
- First conviction in 3 years: No disqualification
- Second conviction in 3 years: 60-day disqualification of CDL privileges
- Third or more conviction in 3 years: 120-day disqualification
It is important to note that these disqualification periods will run consecutively (end-to-end) with any other serious commercial disqualifications on your record. To maintain your CDL privileges and ensure safe driving practices, it is crucial to avoid committing any of these serious traffic violations.
Railroad Grade Crossing Violations and CDL Disqualification in Georgia
In Georgia, railroad grade crossing violations can lead to the disqualification of your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) privileges. These violations affect your Georgia CDL regardless of whether they were committed in a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) or a non-CMV. However, your Federal CDL privileges will only be affected if these offenses occurred in a CMV. It does not matter if the offense took place in Georgia or another jurisdiction.
List of Railroad Grade Crossing Violations
- Failing to slow down and check that the tracks are clear of an approaching train before proceeding
- Failing to stop before reaching the crossing if the tracks are not clear
- Failing to stop before driving onto the crossing (if required to do so)
- Driving over a railroad grade crossing when there is insufficient space to drive completely through the railroad crossing without stopping
- Failing to obey a traffic control device or the directions of an enforcement official at a railroad crossing
- Failing to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance
Consequences for Railroad Grade Crossing Violations
The consequences for these railroad grade crossing violations depend on the number of convictions within a 3-year period:
- First conviction in 3 years: 60-day disqualification of your CDL
- Second conviction in 3 years: 120-day disqualification
- Third or more conviction in 3 years: One-year disqualification
To maintain your CDL privileges and ensure safe driving practices around railroad crossings, it is crucial to avoid committing any of these violations. Adhering to the rules and regulations surrounding railroad grade crossings is essential for the safety of both commercial drivers and other road users.
Out-of-Service Order Violations and CDL Disqualification in Georgia
Out-of-service order violations are serious offenses that can affect your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and lead to disqualification of CDL privileges in Georgia. Understanding these violations and their consequences is crucial for maintaining your CDL privileges and ensuring safe driving practices.
Definition of an Out-of-Service Order
An out-of-service order is a temporary withdrawal of the privilege to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). It can be imposed against the driver or the vehicle. These violations must occur in a CMV by nature.
Examples and Timeframes
- An out-of-service order against a vehicle with defective equipment is in place indefinitely, or until the defect is fixed.
- An out-of-service order against a driver for being on the road for too many hours is in place for 8 hours.
- An out-of-service order for a driver having any measurable alcohol in their system or who refuses to take a chemical test is in place for 24 hours.
Consequences for Out-of-Service Order Violations
The consequences for these violations depend on whether they occurred while transporting hazardous materials in quantities that require a placard or operating a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers.
If the violation occurred with hazardous materials or operating a high volume passenger vehicle:
- First conviction in 3 years: 180-day disqualification
- Second conviction in 3 years: Three-year disqualification
- Third or more conviction in 3 years: Three-year disqualification
For all other occurrences:
- First conviction in 3 years: 180-day disqualification
- Second conviction in 3 years: Two-year disqualification
- Third conviction in 3 years: Three-year disqualification
To maintain your CDL privileges, it is important to avoid committing any out-of-service order violations. Adhering to the rules and regulations surrounding the operation of a CMV is essential for the safety of both commercial drivers and other road users.
CDL Disqualification for Failure to Weigh a CMV at a Weigh Station
In Georgia, failing to weigh a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) at a weigh station when required can lead to the disqualification of your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) privileges and affect your regular non-commercial license driving privilege. It is crucial for commercial drivers to understand the consequences of not adhering to this requirement to maintain their CDL privileges and ensure safe driving practices.
Consequences for Failure to Weigh a CMV at a Weigh Station
Once the failure to weigh a CMV at a weigh station is reported to the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS), both your CDL and non-commercial driver's license will be suspended for 90 days. This suspension applies to all driving privileges, significantly impacting your ability to operate any vehicle, whether it's a commercial or non-commercial one.
To maintain your CDL privileges and avoid this disqualification, it is essential to follow all regulations surrounding the operation of a CMV, including stopping at weigh stations when required. Adhering to these rules ensures the safety of both commercial drivers and other road users, while also promoting responsible driving behavior among all drivers.
How To Reinstate Your CDL After A Disqualification
In Georgia, having your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) disqualified can significantly impact your livelihood and ability to operate commercial vehicles. However, it is possible to reinstate your CDL after a disqualification by following the appropriate steps and meeting specific requirements. In this section, we will discuss the process of reinstating your CDL after various types of disqualifications, including lifetime disqualifications and other temporary disqualifications, to help you regain your driving privileges and get back on the road as a responsible commercial driver.
Reinstating Your CDL in Georgia After a Lifetime Disqualification
If you have faced a lifetime disqualification of your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) in Georgia, you may be eligible for reinstatement after serving at least 10 years of the disqualification period. However, there are certain requirements you must meet in order to be considered for reinstatement:
- Valid Class C Georgia driver's license: You must hold an unexpired and valid Class C Georgia driver's license.
- Disqualification imposed by Georgia: The lifetime disqualification must have been imposed by the state of Georgia.
- Exclusion of specific offenses: The lifetime disqualification cannot be a result of a conviction for:
- Homicide by vehicle in the first degree
- Serious injury by vehicle
- An offense involving the use of a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony related to manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance
- An offense of human trafficking
If you meet all the above requirements, you may proceed with the reinstatement process. This may involve paying any required fees or taking any required tests as mandated by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS).
Once you have successfully completed these steps and met the necessary requirements, you should be able to have your CDL reinstated in Georgia. Remember that the process may take time and require patience, but regaining your CDL can open up new opportunities and help you get back on the road as a commercial driver.
Reinstating Your CDL After a Non-Lifetime Disqualification Period
If your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) has been disqualified due to a violation other than a lifetime disqualification, you will need to follow specific procedures to reinstate your CDL. The process may vary depending on whether the offense also led to the disqualification of your non-commercial driver's license.
If Both CDL and Non-CDL Licenses Are Disqualified
For example, if a DUI conviction resulted in the suspension of your non-CDL license and the disqualification of your CDL, you will need to:
- Serve out both suspensions: Make sure you have fully served the suspension periods for both your non-CDL and CDL licenses.
- Reinstate your non-CDL license: You must first reinstate your non-commercial driver's license by completing any required courses or paying any necessary fees associated with the suspension.
- Petition for CDL reinstatement: Once your non-CDL license has been reinstated, you can then petition to get your CDL privileges back. This may involve contacting the Department of Driver Services (DDS) and providing proof of completing any required courses or paying any applicable fees.
If Only Your CDL License Is Disqualified
If the offense led only to the disqualification of your CDL and not your non-CDL license, you will need to:
- Wait for the disqualification period to expire: Ensure that the disqualification period for your CDL has expired.
- Contact the DDS: Reach out to the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) to inquire about the steps needed to reinstate your CDL driving privileges. This may involve completing any necessary courses, paying fees, or providing proof of meeting certain requirements.
By following the appropriate procedures based on your specific situation, you can work towards reinstating your CDL after a disqualification period and resume your career as a commercial driver.
How We Can Help
If you're a commercial driver, you know that your CDL is your livelihood. So, if you find yourself facing a CDL disqualification, it can be a scary and stressful experience. That's why we at Your Law Firm are here to help. Our experienced legal team is knowledgeable on the underlying traffic tickets that can lead to CDL disqualifications. We will work diligently to fight for the best outcome for your traffic case, and make sure you understand how it may affect your CDL privileges. You can trust us to stand by your side and guide you through this challenging time. Let us help you keep your CDL and your career on track.