Categories: Blog

Can You Get A CDL With Points On Your License?

One of the most asked questions we get from people considering a CDL career is, “can you get your cdl with points on your license” and if their normal driving record will affect their ability to enter the trucking industry as a driver. Like most legal aspects of driving, the answer depends on several variables. When it comes to the commercial cdl point system, certain auto-related incidents can have a big impact on your chances of becoming a CDL driver, while other not as serious incidents may have little to no impact. Below is a simplified overview of how the cdl point system works, as well as some of the common tickets/points that can potentially lead to not being able to get a commercial drivers license or getting a commercial drivers license suspension.

How Does the CDL Point System Work

First off, let’s review how the CDL point system works. In California, a commercial driver is only allowed two more points than a normal class A or B driver before getting their license suspended. However, points accumulate more quickly as commercial drivers receive 1 ½ more points than the average driver, meaning a 2 point violation would be worth 3 points on a commercial driver’s license. 

Under California’s Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS),  a commercial driver can face a 6-month license suspension and a 1-year probation if they accumulate the following number of points:

  • 4 points within 12 months
  • 6 points within 24 months
  • 8 points within 36 months 

If the above amount of points are accumulated, the commercial driver is presumed a negligent operator and a license suspension can be enforced. For more serious infractions, this can change to be only 2 tickets or less in a year or 3 tickets in two years – which makes doing everything you can to keep a ticket off your record worth it. 

Type of Ticket Received

As touched on above, the level of which a ticket can affect your chances of entering a CDL career depends on the type of ticket you receive. Serious offenses like the ones below can automatically disqualify you from getting your CDL license or can result in a commercial drivers license suspension:

  • Operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08%. For commercial vehicle drivers, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.04% (0.01% if under 21)
  • Committing manslaughter with a vehicle
  • Fleeing the scene of an auto accident 
  • Using a commercial vehicle to commit a felony
  • Being under the influence of controlled substances

Although it’s best to avoid receiving any kind of ticket, the following tickets will usually have little to no effect on your ability to get a CDL:

  • Minor speeding
    • Can become more serious with each repeated offense 
  • Incorrect parking
    • Can become more serious with each repeated offense

Overall Driving History

When working your way into a commercial driving career, potential employers and insurers will be examining your driving history before making decisions about employment and insurance. If you have received 1-2 minor tickets (parking, minor speeding, etc.) over the past 10 year or so, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. However, if you consistently receive tickets or have been in multiple auto accidents, it can give potential employers the impression that you are not a careful driver and are too high risk to hire and obtain insurance for a commercial vehicle. 

The best way to ensure you will have no issues getting a commercial drivers license is to keep your driving record as clean as possible. We all know mistakes happen, but in this line of work, it is very important to limit the number of mishaps. If you have additional questions about whether or not you get your CDL with points on your license, don’t hesitate to reach out, we would be happy to help lead you in the right direction. Also, if you are ready to take your first step to obtaining your CDL, join us at Truck Driver Academy! Contact us today for more information. 


Brandon Maciel

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