In addition to the rules that apply to the driving public, Commercial Driver License (CDL) holders are required to follow rules specific to Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers in order to comply with the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act, maintain their CDL license and keep their school bus driving privileges.

CDL Rules

  • You cannot have more than one license. If you break this rule, a court may fine you up to $5,000 or put you in jail. Commercial drivers are restricted to one driver license (a single CDL). As a commercial driver, if you have more than one driver license you are in violation of federal law and could be fined a minimum of $250 for the first offense and $500 or more for each subsequent offense. Keep your home state license and return any others.

  • You must notify your employer within 30 days of conviction for any traffic violations (except parking). This is true no matter what type of vehicle you were driving.

  • You must notify your employer and the motor vehicle licensing agency in the state issuing your CDL within 30 days if you are convicted in any other jurisdiction of any moving traffic violation. This rule applies only to violations directly relative to driving and does not pertain to citations such as parking infractions. This is true no matter what type of vehicle you were driving. You must report all convictions of violations received while driving commercial vehicles and private vehicles (such as a private car).

  • You must notify your employer if your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, or if you are disqualified from driving.

  • You must give your employer information on all driving jobs you have held for the past 10 years. You must do this when you apply for a commercial driving job.

  • No one can drive a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL.

  • Your employer may not let you drive a commercial motor vehicle if you have more than one license or if your CDL is suspended or revoked. A court may fine the employer up to $5,000 or put him/her in jail for breaking this rule.

  • All states are connected to one computerized system to share information about CDL drivers. The states will check on drivers' accident records and be sure that drivers don't get more than one CDL.

  • You will lose your CDL for at least one year for a first offense:

    a) If you drive a CMV under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance (for example, illegal drugs).

    b) If you leave the scene of an accident involving a CMV you were driving.

    c) If you use a CMV to commit a felony.

    If the offense occurs while you are operating a CMV that is placarded for hazardous materials, you will lose your CDL for at least three years. You will lose your CDL for life for a second offense. You will also lose your CDL for life if you use a CMV to commit a felony involving controlled substances.

  • You will lose your CDL:

    a) For at least 60 days if you have committed two serious traffic violations within a three-year period involving a CMV.

    b) For at least 120 days for three serious traffic violations within a three-year period. "Serious traffic violations" are excessive speeding (15 mph or more above the posted limit), reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following a vehicle too closely, and traffic offenses committed in a CMV in connection with fatal traffic accidents.

  • It is illegal to operate a CMV if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is .04% or more. You will lose your CDL for one year for your first offense. You will lose it for life for your second offense. If your blood alcohol concentration is less than 0.04% but you have any detectable amount, you will be put out-of-service for 24 hours.

  • If you operate a CMV, you shall be deemed to have given your consent to alcohol testing for the above mentioned violations.

  • Your state may have additional rules which you must also obey.