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How Traffic Violations Can Affect A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in New York

Do CDL drivers suffer bigger consequences for traffic violations? Does the fact they received these violations when not operating a commercial vehicle affect their CDL status?

In New York State, a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is a special license conferred upon drivers of certain types of vehicles, usually those with a gross weight over 26,000 pounds, or to transport hazardous materials.

Moreso than those who have a driver’s license for passenger vehicles, a conviction under the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) can, in certain instances, have more profound effects on one’s CDL than that of a passenger vehicle license holder.

In New York State, the DMV will suspend your CDL for a period of sixty (60) days if you are convicted of two (2) “serious traffic violations”) within a 3-year period. The important thing to remember is that these violations must involve the operation of a commercial vehicle.

Furthermore, your CDL will be suspended for 120 days if you are convicted of three (3) serious traffic violations within a 3-year period involving your commercial motor vehicle.

DMV defines a “serious traffic violation” as operating a motor vehicle while speeding at least 15 MPH over the posted limited, lane change violations, following too closely (tailgating), reckless driving (a traffic misdemeanor in New York), operating a commercial vehicle without a CDL, and an accident in which there was a fatality and the CDL driver received a traffic violation.

A serious traffic violation also occurs against a CDL driver when they are convicted of leaving the scene of an accident.

As to alcohol and drug convictions, regardless of whether they arise out of the operation of a commercial or non-commercial vehicle, they will result in a one (1) year loss of CDL privileges after a first offense, and if convicted a second time for any of these violations, the CDL privileges are lost for life.

If you need an experienced Long Island traffic attorney who can assist with traffic violations while operating a commercial vehicle and for those who hold a CDL, please contact us at the Law Offices of Michael W. Alpert at (516) 280-7288 or e-mail: