Categories: Blog

What Disqualifies You From Getting a CDL?

There are a variety of steps you need to take in order to acquire a commercial driver’s license (CDL). What many people fail to remember is that there are certain things that can disqualify you from getting your CDL or can result in you losing your CDL.

According to the FMCSA (49 CFR 383.51), there 4 different categories of CDL disqualifications:

  1. Disqualification for major offenses
  2. Disqualification for serious traffic violations
  3. Disqualification for railroad-highway grade crossing offenses
  4. Disqualification for violating out-of-service orders

Read on to find out what types of offenses fall into each of these categories of CDL disqualifications.

Disqualification for Major Offenses

The top question you’re likely all wondering is, “what felonies disqualify you from getting a CDL?” Depending on the nature of the crime, it may be deemed a misdemeanor or a felony. So while not all the offenses listed below are always felonies, it’s important to be aware that your CDL will be revoked if you commit any of the following:

  • Being under the influence of alcohol as prescribed by State law
  • Being under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater while operating a CMV
  • Refusing to take an alcohol test as required by a State or jurisdiction under its implied consent laws or regulations as defined in § 383.72
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Using the vehicle to commit a felony, other than a felony described in the last two items of this list
  • Driving a CMV when, as a result of prior violations committed operating a CMV, the driver’s CLP or CDL is revoked, suspended, or canceled, or the driver is disqualified from operating a CMV
  • Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV, including but not limited to the crimes of motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle and negligent homicide
  • Using the vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance
  • Using a CMV in the commission of a felony involving an act or practice of severe forms of trafficking in persons

Please note that the amount of time that you are disqualified from operating a CMV differs between the above offenses. Additionally, whether or not it is your first offense can also change the disqualification time.

Disqualification for Serious Traffic Violations

If you’re concerned with the question of, “how do you lose your CDL?” then you’ve come to the right place. In addition to major offenses, there are also serious traffic violations you’ll want to avoid. These traffic violations include:

  • Speeding excessively, involving any speed of 15 mph or more above the regulated or posted speed limit
  • Driving recklessly, as defined by State or local law or regulation, including but, not limited to, offenses of driving a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property
  • Making improper or erratic traffic lane changes
  • Following the vehicle ahead too closely
  • Violating State or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than a parking violation) arising in connection with a fatal accident
  • Driving a CMV without obtaining a CLP or CDL
  • Driving a CMV without a CLP or CDL in the driver’s possession
  • Driving a CMV without the proper class of CLP or CDL and/or endorsements for the specific vehicle group being operated or for the passengers or type of cargo being transported
  • Violating a State or local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control prohibiting texting while driving a CMV
  • Violating a State or local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control restricting or prohibiting the use of a hand-held mobile telephone while driving a CMV

Unlike the Major Offense CDL disqualifications in the last section, these Serious Traffic CDL disqualifications tend to result in a 60 day disqualification timeframe.

Disqualification for Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Offenses

When it comes to CDL disqualifications involving railroad crossings, you may be thinking that these aren’t as applicable. However, it’s just as important to be aware of the following offenses:

  • The driver is not required to always stop, but fails to slow down and check that tracks are clear of an approaching train
  • The driver is not required to always stop, but fails to stop before reaching the crossing, if the tracks are not clear
  • The driver is always required to stop, but fails to stop before driving onto the crossing
  • The driver fails to have sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping
  • The driver fails to obey a traffic control device or the directions of an enforcement official at the crossing
  • The driver fails to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance

Disqualification for Violating Out-of-Service Orders

In addition to all the offenses listed above, your CDL will be revoked if you violate this final set of offenses:

  • Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting nonhazardous materials
  • Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting hazardous materials as defined in § 383.5, or while operating a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver

Now that you know the different CDL disqualifications to be aware of, there is one final question we want to address: can you get a cdl with points on your license? This really depends on a number of factors. Check out our blog post to find out more on how points can affect your CDL.

Brandon Maciel

Recent Posts

Differences Between Interstate vs Intrastate Trucking

What is the Difference Between Interstate and Intrastate Trucking Understanding the differences between "Interstate" and…

1 week ago

Truck Driver Security Basics

If you’re new to trucking and you’re just getting started out on the road, there…

2 weeks ago

CDL Suspensions and Disqualifications

As a truck driver, a CDL disqualification or CDL suspension is one of the worst…

2 months ago

8 Reasons to Become a Truck Driver

Are you tired of working an unfulfilling 9-5 and thinking of switching careers? Well, if…

2 months ago

Truck Driver Sun Damage and How to Prevent It

From a young age, you were likely told to always use sunscreen or some kind…

3 months ago

How to Become a Truck Driver

Are you interested in becoming a truck driver in California but not sure where to…

3 months ago