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Georgia Commercial Driver's License Laws

The laws governing Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDL’s) in Georgia - their issuance, revocation, and suspension - are complex and can be confusing. We receive frequent calls about this subject from clients who have CDL’s, who want to obtain CDL’s, or are facing a revocation or suspension of their CDL’s as the result of traffic offenses.

Below is a summary of the Georgia laws on this subject. We hope it will be informative, and invite your calls or questions if we can be of assistance to you in regard to a CDL issue.

What are considered major traffic violations?

Major traffic violation means a conviction of any of the following offenses or a conviction of any law or ordinance equivalent thereto in this state, in any other state, or in any foreign jurisdiction, when operating either a commercial motor vehicle or, unless otherwise specified, a noncommercial motor vehicle:

  1. Driving a vehicle under the influence in violation of Code Section 40-6-391;
  2. Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident in violation of Code Section 40-6-270, failure to report striking an unattended vehicle in violation of Code Section 40-6-271, failure to report striking a fixed object in violation of Code Section 40-6-272, or failure to report an accident in violation of Code Section 40-6-273;
  3. Except as provided in subsection (b) of Code Section 40-5-151, any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;
  4. Driving a commercial motor vehicle while the person's commercial driver's license or commercial driving privilege is revoked, suspended, canceled, or disqualified;
  5. Homicide by vehicle in violation of Code Section 40-6-393;
  6. Racing on highways or streets in violation of Code Section 40-6-186;
  7. Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer in violation of Code Section 40-6-395;
  8. Fraudulent or fictitious use of or application for a license as provided in Code Section 40-5-120 or subsection (c) of Code Section 40-5-125;
  9. Operating a motor vehicle with a revoked, canceled, or suspended registration in violation of Code Section 40-6-15;
  10. Violating Code Sections 16-8-2 through 16-8-9, if the property that was the subject of the theft was a vehicle engaged in commercial transportation of cargo or any appurtenance thereto or the cargo being transported therein or thereon, as set forth in paragraph (8) of subsection (a) of Code Section 16-8-12; or
  11. Refusing to submit to a state administered chemical test requested by a law enforcement officer pursuant to Code Section 40-5-55.

How many major traffic violations can you have?

According to Official Code of Georgia §40-5-151, any person is disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for a period ofnot less than 60 days if convicted of a first violation of subsection (b) of Code Section 40-5-125. Specifically, subsection (b) of §40-5-125 states, “ any person who uses a false or fictitious name or gives a false or fictitious address in an application for a driver’s license provided for by this chapter shall be guilty of a violation of code Section 16-10-20.”

Moreover, any person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a period ofnot less than one year if convicted of a first violation of a major traffic violation. If a person is convicted of a second or subsequent major traffic violation or any combination of such violations arising from two or more separate incidents he or she is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for life.

If a person is convicted of a first violation of using a commercial motor vehicle in the commission of a felony or a major traffic violation provided that the vehicle being operated or used in connection with such violation or commission of such felony is transporting a hazardous material required to be placarded under Section 105 of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act, 49 U.S.C. app. 1804 the person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a period of three years.

Furthermore, any person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for life who knowingly uses a motor vehicle in the commission of any felony involving the manufacture, distribution, cultivation, sale, transfer of, trafficking in, or dispensing of a controlled substance or marijuana, or possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, cultivate, sell, transfer, traffic in, or dispense a controlled substance or marijuana.

Lastly, the department (Ga. Dept. of Driver Services) may issue regulations establishing guidelines, including conditions, under which a disqualification for life may be reduced to a period of not less than ten years. The department is not authorized to make any other reduction in a term of disqualification or to issue a limited or other permit or license that would allow the operation of a commercial motor vehicle during the term of disqualification.

What are considered serious traffic violations?

Serious traffic violation means conviction of any of the following offenses or a conviction of any law or ordinance equivalent thereto in this state, in any other state, or in any foreign jurisdiction, when operating either a commercial motor vehicle or, unless otherwise specified, a noncommercial motor vehicle:

  1. Speeding 15 or more miles per hour above the posted speed limit;
  2. Reckless driving;
  3. Following another vehicle too closely;
  4. Improper or erratic lane change, including failure to signal a lane change;
  5. A violation, arising in connection with a fatal crash, of state law or a local ordinance, relating to motor vehicle traffic control, excluding parking, weight, length, height, and vehicle defect violations, and excluding homicide by vehicle as defined in Code Section 40-6-393;
  6. A railroad grade crossing violation in a noncommercial motor vehicle;
  7. Driving a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining a commercial driver's license;
  8. Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver's license in the driver's immediate possession, and excluding such violations when the person's commercial driver's license or commercial driving privilege is suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified;
  9. Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver's license of the proper class and endorsements for the specific vehicle being operated or for the passengers or type of cargo transported; or
  10. Use of a wireless telecommunications device in violation of Code Section 40-6-241while driving a commercial motor vehicle.

How many serious traffic violations can you have?

According to Official Code of Georgia §40-5-151 (f), any person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a period of not less than 60 days if convicted of two serious traffic violations arising from separate incidents occurring within a three-year period as measured from the dates of arrests for which convictions were obtained; or not less than 120 days if convicted of a third or subsequent serious traffic violation arising from separate incidents occurring within a three-year period as measured from the dates of arrests for which convictions were obtained.

Michael Moran and Associates, LLC handle a wide range of traffic and license related cases, including DUI, license revocations, suspensions and reinstatements, and accident cases. Initial phone consultations are free. If you have a case or legal matter you’d like to discuss, please contact us at (404) 205-8879.

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