How Can Traffic Violations Affect Your CDL?

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A commercial driver’s license is a privilege, and as such, the government can take it away. You carry a lot of responsibility when driving large commercial vehicles, so the government wants to be sure that you are a safe operator who will not put others at risk on the roadway.

Accumulating traffic violations is one way to lose your CDL. Different violations will have different effects on your license privileges.

State and Federal Rules

One thing to note about violations and the laws governing them is that each state has different rules. In addition, the federal government also has some regulatory rights over your CDL, especially if you travel between states.

Sometimes, it is confusing as to which law applies and what will happen with your license. The best course of action if you are unsure is to contact the office of your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV should have all the information about your driving record regardless of where a violation happened or if state or federal regulations apply. You may also want to work with a CDL traffic attorney to help you avoid losing your license.


The general guideline is the points system. When you receive a traffic violation, you may earn points on your driving record. The points systems vary from state to state, but each state has a maximum point limit that will result in a license suspension.

Generally, more severe violations result in more points going on your record. These might include:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Drinking and driving
  • Violating railroad crossing regulations
  • Driving without a valid license
  • Causing a fatal accident
  • Using a cell phone while driving

Some states may differentiate between violations that happen in your personal vehicle and those in your commercial vehicle. The points systems and the penalties may be different in each case.


Generally, if you commit a severe violation, you will have some type of suspension period. It could be as little as 30 days. It is also possible for you to permanently lose your right to hold a CDL. Usually, this will only happen if you have a serious violation, such as causing a fatal accident due to drinking and driving.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration explains that some states may offer driving privileges for work if you are under suspension. Check your state’s DMV for details.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that a CDL is a special license that provides you with the ability to drive vehicles that can be dangerous on the road. Due to this, violations while driving become serious issues that could lead to losing your CDL if you get too many traffic violations.