Illinois requires drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to have a commercial drivers license (CDL). Like other states, Illinois provides CDL classification based on the weight and purpose of the vehicle. Vehicles included under Illinois' CDL laws are:
Drivers of farm, recreational, military or emergency vehicles are generally exempt from CDL requirements. Illinois provides stringent restrictions and endorsements that go along with CDL privileges. Violation of even basic traffic laws may result in stiff penalties that include license disqualification. Additionally, drivers must report any out-of-state violation, suspension or revocation within 30 days of its occurrence.
The following are serious traffic violations that incur suspension of CDL privileges:
Other serious violations include leaving a scene of an accident or committing a crime while operating a CMV or a non-CMV. Penalties are enhanced if the CMV was transporting hazardous material at the time of the incident.
Violations accrue that are specific to CDL restrictions. For instance, drivers must not overload their CMVs because overweight vehicles impede maneuverability over certain roadways. Additionally, Illinois provides restrictions regarding railroad crossings.
Under Illinois statute a railroad-highway grade crossing violation is one of the following:
Also, drivers are prohibited from operating any CMV that has an out-of-service order.
In Illinois, those operating CMVs with a blood alcohol content of .04 percent or more have committed a DUI violation. This prohibition includes alcohol and controlled substances. A CDL driver also commits a violation if he refuses to submit to chemical testing.
CDL drivers who have two serious traffic violations within a three-year period will be disqualified for a period of two months. Three serious violations during the same time period results in a four-month disqualification.
CDL drivers lose their privileges for a minimum of one year upon a DUI conviction whether the vehicle was a CMV or non-CMV. If the CMV was transporting hazardous material required to be placarded, the minimum disqualification is three years. If the driver receives a second conviction arising from a separate traffic violation(s) the disqualification is for life. If a CDL holder commits a felony in a CMV or a non-CMV, he is also disqualified for life.
Refusal to submit to chemical testing incurs a one-year disqualification. A first violation for a railroad-highway grade crossing incurs a minimal 60-day disqualification. A second violation receives a 120-day disqualification. A third or subsequent violation in a three-year period receives a one-year disqualification.
Disqualification of your CDL privileges can impede you from earning a living. No matter how insignificant the violation seems, traffic violations should be taken seriously and pleading guilty may result in losing your privileges for a minimum of a year; in certain cases, you may lose your privileges for a lifetime. Retaining an experienced attorney who can investigate the incident and determine how to protect your CDL license is the first step to a good defense. Find an attorney to discuss your case.