Commercial truck drivers carry heavy loads across our roads, bridges, and highways. As such, they also carry heavy responsibilities to everyone on the road in order to keep us all safe.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that the number of people who died in large truck crashes was 31 percent higher in 2019 than in 2009, when it was the lowest it has been since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975. 16% percent of these deaths were truck occupants, 67% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.
The federal government and the state of Connecticut have strict rules regarding commercial drivers getting and keeping their commercial driver's license (CDL).
The Requirements to Earn a CDL
In Connecticut, before a trucker can earn a CDL, they must first earn a CPL, also known as a Commercial Learner's Permit. A CPL allows a driver to drive a commercial vehicle under the supervision of a CDL holder. This allows the driver to earn a CDL later once the driver completes all licensure requirements including medical evaluation, a criminal background check, and various written tests.
The Connecticut DMV has revised the CDL Knowledge and Skills tests in order to comply with federal regulations. The CDL Knowledge and Skills Tests is based on a new version of the CDL Manual.
In addition to a road test, several knowledge tests are conducted following federal standards that include a General Knowledge test, an Endorsement test, a Hazardous Materials test, and an Air Brake knowledge test. A score of at least 80% correct is required in order to pass all knowledge and skills tests.
Disqualification of a Commercial Driver License
The disqualification of a Commercial Drivers License may occur for a variety of reasons. In addition to violations received in Connecticut, convictions from other jurisdictions will be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles and recorded on your Connecticut driving history. A driver who is disqualified or subject to an out of service order must not operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV).
Disqualification for a period of one year will result from any one conviction of:
• Operating under the influence
• Evading responsibility
• Use of a commercial motor vehicle in the commission of a felony
• Refusal to submit to a test to determine blood alcohol concentration or failure of such a test
• Leaving the scene of an accident
• Having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater while operating a CMV
• Driving a CMV when the driver's CDL is revoked, suspended, canceled, or the driver is disqualified from operating a CMV
If any of the above listed offenses occur while driving a vehicle transporting hazardous materials, the disqualification period will be a minimum of three years for a first conviction.
Two convictions for the above listed violations will result in lifetime disqualification of a Commercial Driver License.
Use of a commercial motor vehicle in the commission of a felony involving controlled substances will result in a lifetime disqualification of a Commercial Driver License.
In addition, a person is disqualified for a period of 60 days from driving a commercial motor vehicle if convicted of two serious traffic violations in or out of state, including but not limited to:
• Speeding in excess of fifteen miles per hour over the posted speed limit
• Reckless driving
• Following too closely
• Improper or erratic lane changes
• Texting and/or the use of a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a CMV
• Driving a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining a CDL
• Driving a CMV without the proper class of CDL and/or endorsements for the specific vehicle group being operated or for the passengers or type of cargo being transported
• Conviction arising in connection with an accident related to the operation of a commercial motor vehicle and which resulted in a fatality
• Driving a CMV without a CDL in the driver's possession
Any additional convictions of the above listed violations will result in a 120-day disqualification.
Get Professional Assistance
If you have been injured in a crash caused by a truck driver, then it is important that you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Attorney Jim Miron offers free consultations. To schedule your appointment, call us at (203) 339-5991 or contact Jim online.