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Commercial driving records and protecting them

Driving along interstate corridors and frequently working at night, commercial drivers perform essential societal roles like keeping supermarket shelves stocked and delivering mail. Illinois’s interstates and highways play an essential role in the national transport industry.

Illinois companies ship tons of freight through the Port of Chicago and the Mississippi River, which makes up the entirety of the state’s western border. The Land of Lincoln is also the country’s sixth-leading state in terms of exports, requiring countless commercial drivers to haul goods to, from and within the state. However, traffic violations can hinder a commercial driver’s ability to perform this vital job.

Monitoring driving records

Like all other drivers, truckers must adhere to the rules of the road. Unlike other drivers, however, commercial drivers often need enhanced driver’s licenses called CDLs. With advanced testing requirements, numerous points of eligibility and several reasons to exempt applicants, drivers should protect their commercial driver’s licenses at all costs.

Commercial drivers can receive moving violations and traffic tickets like any other driver. Government agencies keep up with truck drivers’ violation histories as a means of keeping unsafe drivers from driving for a living. Violations will show up two places:

  • Pre-employment screening programs: Violation records are stored in a federal database, keeping up to three years of roadside inspections and five years of crash histories.
  • Motor vehicle records: Although they vary from state to state, these programs store information about violations for several years and even include non-commercial tickets.

These databases award points to various convictions, violations and even thrown-out citations based on severity. When you’re applying for new commercial driving gigs, expect potential employers to check your records. High scores encourage employers to consider other candidates.

You can access your records via the Illinois DMV and the FMCSA online. From there, you can see when moving violations disappear from your record and challenge traffic violations that aren’t yours.

Whether you’re applying for new driving jobs or you want to clear your record of moving violations, consistently monitoring the databases is a good idea. You can catch and fight any traffic violations that would threaten your ability to stay employed as a truck driver.