Are you currently looking for — or working at — any of our local trucking jobs in Portland, ME, or in another location in the Northeast or Midwest? As you continue to advance your career on the road, it’s always important to remember that operating a commercial vehicle is a privilege, not a right. In the same way that a standard driver’s license can be suspended or revoked, your commercial driver’s license (CDL) can be taken away as well. Here’s what you should know about the conditions and circumstances that can result in you receiving a CDL suspension or losing your license altogether.

Driving Under the Influence

When you sign on to become a truck driver, you’re agreeing to transport cargo to its destination without endangering other people on the road. That’s why driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is such a big deal if you have a CDL. 

If you’re convicted of a DUI — or refuse to give a breath/blood sample to an officer when pulled over on suspicion of DUI — your CDL will be suspended for a year (three years if you drive a vehicle classified as “hazmat” or transport other sensitive materials). A second DUI offense (or sample refusal) will result in license removal and lifetime disqualification. Most trucking companies are extremely wary of hiring operators with this offense on their record, so it’s not worth it to even take the chance.

Fatal Negligence

You were hired to operate a commercial-driver’s-license-only vehicle because of your skills on the road. Because of the size of your vehicle, the potential harm that could be done to others is much greater, and you must drive with extra care and caution. 

If you kill someone in an accident and your driving is deemed to be negligent, your CDL will be revoked, and you will likely face both criminal and civil charges. However, you do not need to have actually received a criminal charge to lose your commercial driver’s license for this reason. It is up to the discretion of your state’s governing body, your employer, and the Department of Transportation.

Serious Traffic Offenses

More than 42 million speeding tickets are issued every year in the US. If that 42-million number is applied equally to every person in the United States, that means the average driver has a 36% chance of getting a traffic ticket for speeding. As a commercial vehicle operator, make sure you aren’t in that 36%. Driving in excess of 15 mph over the speed limit will earn you a warning (and a ticket), but if a second offense happens within three years, you’ll have your CDL suspended for 60 days or more. If a third offense happens, you’re looking at a 120-day suspension and potential dismissal from your position. 

Besides excessive speeding, other actions classified as “serious traffic violations” can also result in the same suspension pattern. These violations include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Distracted driving (including texting and taking phone calls)
  • Tailgating
  • Excessive lane changes
  • Aggressive or reckless driving
  • Driving without a valid CDL

Traffic offenses are treated similarly to DUI violations by many trucking companies. Employers consider a history of traffic offenses to be a huge liability, regardless of how long ago the offenses occurred. Many companies will not even consider a potential applicant with this kind of history, no matter how good of a driver they’ve become since then.

“Hit and Run” Accidents

If you are involved in an accident in a commercial vehicle, you must stay on the scene until the police finish processing the paperwork, and everything has been worked out. No matter how minor a fender-bender it is and no matter who caused the wreck, leaving the scene of an accident has the same consequences as driving under the influence (a one-year CDL suspension and a lifetime ban if a second offense occurs). Don’t risk losing your driving privileges!

Criminal Activities

Your truck should only be used for your assigned job — nothing more and nothing less. If you use your commercial vehicle in connection with a felony, you’ll face a one to three-year CDL suspension and lifetime ban upon the second offense. Once your suspension time is up, your chances of being rehired in a CDL position of any kind are virtually nonexistent. Even more seriously, if the felony is drug-related, you’ll skip the suspension and immediately receive a lifetime ban from holding a CDL ever again.

Contact TQM Today

Whether you’ve just finished your training and are looking for CDL jobs in Worcester, MA, or you’ve had a CDL for years, we know you’re proud of your accomplishment. It’s no small feat to achieve this specialist status, and a job as a truck driver can truly take you places (pun intended). That’s why being respectful of the rules of the road is so important!

To look for job openings or to get more behind-the-scenes trucking info, contact the TQM Logistics team anytime. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.