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Truck Topics

Who's Going To Drive That Truck?

By James Mennella and Jeff McConnell
Posted Sep 7th 2002 5:00AM

everything1158a.jpgWhen you wake up on the morning of October 1, 2002, you may not notice anything different. Your truck engine sounds the same, the coffee smells the same and the road looks the same.

But, something has changed.

Something very important to you, your family and the way you earn your living. In this issue we'll address some of the new, very important, additions and changes made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that take effect September 30, 2002.

With these changes, it's important that you pick up a copy of the FMCSR pocketbook and take a serious look at what it's going to take to stay in your profession.

Question: I heard that the FMCSA has added new "serious" violations. Is that true?

Answer: Yes, the FMCSA issued a final rule that added three new "serious" violations to the existing five. The new "serious" violations are: Driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL; Driving a CMV without a CDL in the driver's possession, and Driving a CMV without the proper class of CDL and/or endorsements.

So, here's a list of the eight "serious" violations. Learn them, memorize them, and know them.

1. Excessive speed, 15 mph or more above the posted limit
2. Reckless driving
3. Improper or erratic traffic lane change
4. Following too close
5. A violation in connection with a fatality accident
6. Driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL
7. Driving a CMV without a CDL in the driver's possession
8. Driving a CMV without the proper class of CDL and/or endorsements

Remember a conviction of 2 serious violations within a 3-year period will disqualify your CDL for 60 days.

Question: Is it true that "serious" violation tickets I receive in my personal vehicle will now count for CDL disqualification?

Answer: Yes, your CDL can now be disqualified for "serious" traffic violation convictions from tickets you got in your personal vehicle. This is a radical change from the old FMCSA position.

Now, the Fed's say that all "serious" violations should be counted for CDL disqualification regardless of whether they're received while operating your CMV or four-wheeler. Remember, now more than ever, it's very important that you contact an attorney before you pay any ticket.

Question: I overheard another driver talking about "masking" tickets. What's that mean.

Answer: The word "masking" is what the Feds use for the "diversion" or "deferral" process. For example, before September 30, 2002, many states allowed their courts to accept your "guilty" or "no contest" plea to a ticket, let the court hold your conviction, i.e. not report it to the state DPS, and place you on a type of "probation" known as a diversion or deferral.

This diversion/deferral period usually lasted for 30, 60 or 90 days. If you didn't get any other moving violation convictions during your diversion/deferral period, the court would dismiss or simply not report your "guilty" or "no contest" plea to the DPS.

Unfortunately, after September 30, 2002, the new rules prohibit the non-reporting feature of deferral/diversions and now require all courts to report every conviction to the state DPS, regardless of whether or not you successfully completed your deferral/diversion period.

Some of the states most impacted by this new "no deferral/diversion" rule are: Texas, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri and Utah.

Question: If I get convicted of a DUI in my personal vehicle, I know my "four wheel" privileges will be suspended for a certain period of time. But, will my CDL be disqualified too?

Answer: Yes, just as tickets for "serious" violations you receive in your personal vehicle now affect your CDL privileges, alcohol / drug tickets you receive in your personal vehicle may also disqualify your CDL too.

For example, if you receive a ticket for DUI while operating your personal vehicle, your state DPS will usually suspend your total driving privileges for 30, 60 or 90 days.

After this "administration" suspension is over, and before any conviction of the DUI is entered, you can usually resume driving both your personal and commercial vehicles for limited purposes

However, according to the new rules, if you receive a DUI ticket in your personal vehicle and you get reinstated after the required administrative suspension, your CDL privileges will still be disqualified for twelve months.

That's right, just receiving a ticket for DUI while operating your personal vehicle may result in a mandatory twelve-month disqualification of your CDL privileges!

We hope you can use the information in this column to help with every day, real life problems you face on the road. We invite you to send us any questions or comments you may have regarding transportation law to:


1330 N. Classen Blvd., Suite 215

Oklahoma City, OK 73106;

fax to (405) 272-0558

405 272-0555

Web Information
ROAD LAW Homepage


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