If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), it is important to be familiar with Illinois laws concerning your CDL privileges. Illinois law imposes more severe penalties for driving violations on CDL holders than regular driver’s license holders, and your CDL can be disqualified for a variety of traffic violations.
Under the Illinois Vehicle Code, just one major offense can result in a one-year CDL disqualification. Major offenses include refusing to submit to or failing alcohol and drug tests, knowingly leaving the scene of an accident while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), driving a CMV with a suspended or revoked license, and causing the death of another person through the negligent operation of a CMV. An important distinction in the law as applied to CDL drivers is that driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or higher constitutes a major offense, regardless of a DUI conviction. Additionally, a conviction of a major offense while transporting hazardous materials can result in a three-year disqualification. If you are convicted of a second major offense, the disqualification period lasts for life.
Serious traffic violations can also result in CDL disqualification. Under the Illinois Vehicle Code, serious traffic violations include failure to stop and exchange information after an accident, illegal transportation of alcohol, driving without a valid license or permit, excessive speeding, and reckless driving. For serious traffic violations, your CDL can be disqualified for a period of two months after your second conviction within three years, and for four months after your third conviction within three years. These violations can lead to CDL disqualification even if committed while driving a non-commercial motor vehicle.
Illinois law requires all CMV drivers to notify their employers within 30 days of being convicted of any traffic violation committed while driving a CMV. Unfortunately, a CDL disqualification can result in adverse employment consequences. However, disqualification is not automatic, and you may have grounds to file a petition to contest disqualification. If you are a CDL holder and have been charged with a traffic violation, the experienced attorneys at Finegan & Rinker can diligently defend your driver’s license and record.