As a professional truck driver, your commercial driver’s license (CDL) is the most important tool you need. Truck drivers are liable for faulty, poorly maintained vehicles, reckless driving behavior. You can also be held accountable for shady business practices by the transportation company you work for. This can lead to you racking up points on your CDL and potentially having it revoked. How can you protect your CDL?
Understand and Avoid Violations
It is difficult to avoid pitfalls when you don’t even know what they are. Familiarize yourself with violations that are likely to add points to your CDL.
Some violations include defective lights, speeding tickets, overweight load, exceeding recommended height and length, expired documents, logbook errors, and many more.
The record of CDL points lasts 3 years for minor violations and up to 10 years for serious violations such as a DUI. The more points you accumulate, the more likely you are to get a disqualification or your license revokes.
Remember, a commercial driver’s driving history follows him even to other states and can determine disqualifications at a later date. Protect your CDL by driving responsibly and resolving the violations before going on the road.
Contest Your Tickets
In some cases, it is possible to fight your tickets instead of accepting them. Tickets will register points on your CDL. If you can fight the ticket and have it written off, it is worth spending the legal fees to do so.
Don’t Drive a Faulty Vehicle
You may be driving your rig for over 10 hours a day, but this does not make you a truck expert. The circle check that you perform every 24 hours is only a sight and sound test. It assumes that this is a regularly serviced and maintained truck.
Make sure you report any issues you spot during your check. If in doubt about the roadworthiness of your truck, you should not drive it. Should there be an accident, you will be held accountable for driving a faulty vehicle.
If faced with unscrupulous vehicle owners who push you to drive when you know you should not, consider opting out. It is better to come out of it with an intact body and CDL even if you have to get a new job.