The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today proposed a requirement that drivers of large trucks or buses who are subject to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CVSA) be disqualified from driving if convicted of certain offenses while driving any vehicle.
FMCSA’s proposed rule would require states to disqualify a driver’s commercial drivers license (CDL) upon conviction for the listed offenses, and employers would be required to prohibit these disqualified drivers from operating commercial motor vehicles.
The purpose is to improve safety by ensuring that only “safe” drivers operate large trucks and buses, the agency said. The FMCSA estimates that nearly 500 commercial vehicle-related crashes would be avoided annually as a result of these disqualifications.
Offenses that would disqualify a convicted driver include driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident, committing a general or substance-related felony, violating railroad-highway grade crossing signs, excessive speeding and reckless driving.
Disqualification would mean suspension, revocation or cancellation of a CDL by the issuing state. The time period for disqualification would vary according to the offense involved.
“It makes perfect sense to hold commercial vehicles drivers accountable for driving convictions while operating any type of motor vehicle,” acting deputy FMCSA administrator Julie Anna Cirillo said. “Because of the importance of their job, these drivers should be held to the highest standard of safety.”
Cirillo added that the proposal would improve truck safety and support the Bush administration’s goal to reduce the number of truck-related fatalities.
FMCSA’s proposal also requests that CDL holders convicted of serious traffic violations and other offenses in either a non- commercial vehicle or commercial vehicle serve the same period of disqualification that would occur had the convicted driver been driving a commercial vehicle.