Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Can traffic tickets affect New York commercial driver licenses?

Often, people in New York City, and throughout the state of New York, operate motor vehicles for their jobs. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, people must have a commercial driver license, or CDL, in order to operate certain types of commercial motor vehicles. These include those vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds, busses or vehicles meant for the transportation of 15 passengers or more, trailers with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more, and any vehicle that must have a hazardous material placard. Receiving tickets for traffic violations in the state of New York can have a serious impact on people's CDLs.

In general, those with commercial driver licenses are subject to the same traffic laws as non-CDL drivers. However, the penalties for certain serious traffic violations may be more severe for CDL holders when they are operating commercial motor vehicles. There are a number of traffic violations, which may be considered serious for CDL drivers. These include the following:

  •        Using a handheld cellular phone while driving
  •        Driving in excess of 15 mph over the posted speed limit
  •        Making unsafe or improper lane changes
  •        Tailgating

Additionally, other traffic offenses that occur in connection with fatal motor vehicle accidents may also be considered as serious violations.

Under section 510 of New York's vehicle and traffic law, people who are convicted of serious traffic violations may be subject to a suspension of their CDL. Being convicted of two such violations in separate incidents within three years generally results in a 60 CDL suspension. With a third traffic violation conviction, the suspension period increases to 120 days. Furthermore, motorists who are convicted of alcohol-related offenses while operating commercial motor vehicles may lose their CDL for up to one year. This penalty may be increased to three years for those convicted of such violations while transporting hazardous materials.

The suspension of a commercial driver license can impact a person's ability to perform his or her job duties. Therefore, even what could seem to be a minor traffic infraction may carry serious repercussions. As such, those who have been charged with traffic violations may benefit from seeking legal counsel and representation.

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