Stricter CDL Rule Goes Into Effect Sept. 30

CDL holders can be disqualified for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in a personal vehicle.

Changes to the rule governing commercial driver’s licenses will make obtaining and keeping the credentials more difficult for some truckers.

The changes, which go into effect Sept. 30, allow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration greater latitude in revoking licenses and disqualifying drivers. Under the changes, which were mandated as part of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, the FMCSA can now disqualify CDL holders:

  • who violate drug- and alcohol-related traffic laws while operating an automobile;
  • who drive a truck after their CDL is revoked, suspended or canceled;
  • who cause a fatality through negligent or criminal operation of a truck.

Other rule changes are to definitions. A serious traffic violation now includes drivers who fail to obtain a CDL but drive a truck anyway; driving a truck without a CDL in the driver’s possession; and operating a truck without the correct credentials for the vehicle being driven or type of cargo being transported.

Perhaps the biggest change, though, is one that allows the FMCSA’s chief safety officer to disqualify, on an emergency basis, CDL drivers who pose an “imminent hazard.”

The final rule can be viewed on the FMCSA website (