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Steven M. Lee, PC

There Must Be Fifty Ways to Lose Your License: High Standards and Fitting Punishments for Commercial Drivers

Paul Simon might make it sound a little catchier than it really is, but for drivers who hold a commercial driver license (CDL) in Texas, it is a serious matter. Being certified to drive commercially is a privilege that comes with heavy responsibility, and for the most part, commercial drivers respect that privilege immensely.

In order to drive professionally, a person must be held to a higher standard of care than other drivers on the road. They are entrusted with a vehicle that they may not own and valuable cargo (including passengers), and must safely navigate through more miles daily that we see in a monthly basis.

Because of the enormous responsibility, commercial drivers must also be skilled, knowledgeable, and have a squeaky-clean driving record. Commercial drivers can even face penalties on their CDL for violations they receive while off the clock in their own personal vehicles. By committing any of the following offenses, not only are commercial drivers risking their licenses, they are also risking their livelihoods:

  • Alcohol-related convictions: If a commercial driver is convicted of an alcohol-related offense such as a DWI, they face being disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle for at least one year—three years if the offense occurred in a commercial vehicle placarded for hazardous material.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident: Similar to alcohol offenses, drivers face a minimum one year disqualification, or three if their vehicle was placarded for hazardous material.
  • Serious traffic offenses like reckless driving and excessive speeds: Two convictions within three years sees a two-month disqualification; three convictions will get a four-month disqualification.
  • Smuggling contraband or aliens in a commercial vehicle: Texas takes border security seriously. If a driver knowingly transports illegal goods or people, he will face federal fines, imprisonment, and lifetime disqualification.

When the average driver loses his license, he is likely still able to hold onto his job and earn a living. It can be expensive and humiliating, but life will generally go on unchanged. For commercial drivers, losing their licenses is financially devastating; that is just one reason why most drivers take their responsibilities so seriously.

The extraordinary responsibility carried by commercial drivers is something that most of these men and women view as nearly sacred; this is why it is truly an egregious act when you are injured by a commercial truck driver who is being negligent or reckless. Make sure that justice is served; contact our law firm now by clicking on the live chat link to speak with an attorney.


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