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Ohio Traffic Offenses: What Offenses Trigger CDL License Disqualification?

Serious Ohio Traffic Offenses Triggering Suspension of CDL License 

Under federal law, if a CDL holder is convicted TWICE of any of the following “serious traffic offenses” in a separate offense within a 3-year period while operating a commercial vehicle, the CDL holder will be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle for 60 days:

  • Speeding 15 mph or more over the speed limit
  • Reckless driving
  • Improper lane change
  • Following too closely
  • Traffic control violation resulting in a fatal accident
  • Driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL in your possession
  • Driving a commercial vehicle without proper endorsements or proper class of CDL
  • Violating a state or local law banning texting while driving

If you are convicted of any of the above offenses THREE or more times within a 3-year period, your CDL will be suspended for 120 days.

Note that these suspensions apply whether the offense was in your commercial vehicle or your personal car.  

Because of the serious consequences that even a speeding ticket can have on a CDL holder’s livelihood, talking to a Columbus CDL attorney about your options for a Columbus speeding, reckless driving or other traffic charge is critical.

Below is a table summarizing each of these offenses and the length of CDL license suspension (from 49 CFR 383.51, Table 2):

 Second conviction of any of the below offenses in a separate incident within a 3-year period while operating a commercial vehicleSecond conviction of any of the below offenses in a separate incident within a 3-year period while operating a non-commercial vehicle Third or subsequent conviction of any of the below offenses in a separate in a 3-year period while operating a commercial vehicleThird or subsequent conviction of any of the below offenses within a 3-year period while operating a non-commercial vehicle
Speeding 15 mph or more above the speed limit60 days60 days120 days120 days
Reckless driving60 days60 days120 days120 days
Improper lane change or erratic lane change60 days60 days120 days120 days
Following too closely60 days60 days120 days120 days
Traffic control violation resulting in a fatal traffic accident60 days60 days120 days120 days
Driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL60 daysN/A120 daysN/A
Driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL in your possession60 daysN/A120 daysN/A
Driving a commercial vehicle without the proper class of CDL and/or endorsements60 daysN/A120 daysN/A
Texting while driving in violation of state or local law60 daysN/A120 daysN/A
Using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving in violation of state or local law60 daysN/A120 daysN/A

OVI, Breathalyzer Refusal, Hit-Skip & CDL Disqualification

Federal law also provides that other more serious traffic offenses – such as OVI / DUI and hit and run accidents – have longer periods of suspension.

Below is a chart from the federal regulations explaining the length of CDL suspensions for first or second DUI / OVI convictions, hit and run convictions as well as operating a commercial vehicle with a prohibited breath alcohol level.  From 49 CFR 383.51, Table 1

 First conviction or refusal to be tested while driving a commercial vehicleFirst conviction or refusal to be tested while driving non-commercial vehicleFirst conviction or refusal or be tested while operating a commercial vehicle carrying hazmatSecond conviction or refusal or be tested in a separate incident while operating a commercial vehicleSecond conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident while operating a non-commercial vehicle
DUI / OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence)1 year1 year3 yearsLifeLife
Having a BAC of .04 or more while operating a commercial vehicle1 yearN/A3 yearsLifeN/A
Refusal or take a breathalyzer test1 year1 year3 yearsLifeLife
Leaving the scene of an accident (hit-skip)1 year1 year3 yearsLife Life
Using vehicle to commit a felony1 year1 year3 yearsLifeLife
Driving a commercial vehicle while CDL is revoked, suspended or cancelled1 yearN/A3 yearsLifeN/A
Causing a fatality through negligent operation of a commercial vehicle1 yearN/A3 yearsLifeN/A
Using vehicle in commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a controlled substanceLife - not eligible for 10-year reinstatementLife - not eligible for 10-year reinstatementLife - not eligible for 10-year reinstatementLife - not eligible for 10-year reinstatementLife - not eligible for 10-year reinstatement