Speeding tickets for commercial drivers—whether they occur in a commercial or personal vehicle—can affect commercial driving privileges. This article outlines some different speeding violation scenarios and how they might impact a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Federal CDL revocation rules apply to commercial drivers in all states. However, the laws of many states go further than federal law. So, in some situations, whether a speeding ticket will affect commercial driving privileges depends on the law of the state that issued the CDL. How a speeding ticket impacts CDL privileges can also depend on whether the driver was operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) or a personal vehicle at the time of the violation.
A speeding ticket in a CMV is considered a “serious traffic violation” if the driver was going at least 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. Federal rules require a minimum 60-day CDL revocation for two serious traffic violations in three years and a minimum 120-day CDL revocation for three or more offenses in three years.
Also, the laws of some states impose additional penalties for speeding violations that occur in CMVs. For example, California imposes one-and-a-half times the usual license demerit points if the offender was driving a CMV at the time of the violation. Under this system, traffic tickets in CMVs can lead to license suspension more quickly than tickets obtained in a personal vehicle.
A speeding ticket obtained while operating a personal (non-CMV) vehicle will not result in a federally-mandated CDL revocation. However, some states have added their own CDL-related penalties for speeding violations in personal vehicles. In Oregon, for example, driving any motor vehicle 100 miles per hour or speeding 30 miles per hour over the limit is considered a serious traffic violation for CDL revocation purposes.
It should also be noted that any traffic violation that results in the revocation of personal driving privileges will also revoke commercial driving privileges. For instance, a driver’s license suspension due to excessive license demerit points will also result in CDL revocation.
Federal law requires that serious traffic violations count as priors on a person’s record for three years. However, individual states determine how long traffic offenses stay on a driver’s record. License demerit point calculations and related penalties also vary by state. And options for avoiding traffic violation penalties like traffic school, expungements, diversions, and hardship licenses usually aren’t available for CMV operators.