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Attorneys Stephen G. Fabian Jr. and Brian P. Young

Oklahoma Commercial Driver’s License Issues

[Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration]:

Oklahoma follows federal guidelines that provide for three classifications of CMVs as described below. CDLs are regulated nationwide under the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.

  • Class A Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.
  • Class C Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is transporting material that has been designated as hazardous. Note: A bus may be either Class B or Class C depending on whether the GVWR is 26,001 pounds or more.

Oklahoma drivers can lose their CDL on a temporary or permanent basis. The degree of loss depends on whether the violation is characterized as major (which always results in some form of disqualification) or serious (which cumulatively result in disqualification) or otherwise. Below we set out the standards. Note: Using a CMV or non-CMV in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a controlled substance will result in a disqualification for life, without the possibility of reinstatement.

Disqualification For Major Violations

Below are the causes for a major violation. The first violation for a major violation, in a CMV or a non-CMV, results in a one‑year disqualification (or a three‑year disqualification if transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded). The second violation for a major, in a CMV or a non-CMV , results in a lifetime disqualification. The driver may be eligible for reinstatement under certain conditions after ten years. Major violations include:

  • Being under the influence of alcohol as prescribed by Oklahoma law.
  • Being under the influence of a controlled substance.
  • Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04% or greater while operating a CMV.
  • Refusing to take an alcohol test as required by Oklahoma law under its implied consent laws or regulations.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Using the vehicle to commit a felony.
  • Driving a CMV when; because of prior violations committed operating a CMV, the driver’s CDL is revoked, suspended, or canceled or the driver is disqualified from operating a CMV.
  • Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV, including but not limited to the crimes of motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle and negligent homicide.
  • Using the vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a controlled substance.

Disqualification For Serious Traffic Violations

These violations impact the CDL only if they occur while operating a commercial motor vehicle. The first violation for a serious violation does not result in a disqualification. A second serious violation within three years, results in a 60-day disqualification, and a third serious violation within three years, results in a 120-day disqualification. Serious disqualifications must be served consecutively. Serious violations in a non-CMV must not be included, unless it results in the revocation, cancellation, or suspension of the CDL holder’s license or non-CMV driving privileges. All serious violations in a CMV includes:

  • Speeding excessively, involving any speed of 15 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit.
  • Driving recklessly, as defined by Oklahoma law, including but, not limited to, offenses of driving a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of people or property.
  • Making improper or erratic traffic lane changes.
  • Following the vehicle ahead too closely.
  • Violating Oklahoma law relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than a parking violation) arising in connection with a fatal accident.
  • Driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL.
  • Driving a CMV without a CDL in the driver’s possession.
  • 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.

Any disqualification of your CDL jeopardizes your job. Legal action to protect your CDL must be taken quickly and by someone who knows what he is doing. In many cases you only have 15 days from your arrest or traffic ticket, to challenge a disqualification. Contact us right away to see how we can help.