GUEST ARTICLE CONCLUSION: TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS/COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

GUEST ARTICLE CONTINUED: TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS/COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

By David G. Ballard

The imposition of the corresponding penalty for the first three circumstances, above, is dependent upon the outcome of the criminal prosecution; however, a favorable result there does not automatically remove or lessen the regulatory violation under CSA.  The driver and the carrier continue to operate with the assessed points until they are reversed by the state agency that issued the points in the first place, if at all, or lessened or eliminated by the passage of time.

 

The current method of challenging the CSA regulatory violation is to submit a “DataQ” to FMCSA which will then ask the state police to review the violation who may or may not drop  the violation.  However, there currently are no administrative rules of procedure for this process [n5].

 

Even if the resulting traffic points against the driver’s license are not enough to cause the running total to cause a suspension of the driver’s license under state law, the infraction conviction may trigger a disqualification of the driver from operating a commercial motor vehicle under state law as a consequence of the federal regulations [n6] and may cause a potential employer to decline to hire a driver when reviewing his or her driving history because the carrier may obtain with the applicant’s consent a Pre-Employment Screening Program Report from FMCSA showing the most recent five (5) years of crash data and the most recent three (3) years of roadside inspection data, including serious safety violations.  As such, the purportedly quick or cost efficient answer for the truck driver may not be to plead guilty to the infraction and pay the fine due to its temporal facial appearance of being a “minor” offense under state law.  The federal regulatory consequences must also be analyzed.

 

[n1]  Not all Idaho State Police patrol officers are certified to conduct CSA Inspections and to issue CSA Reports and Violations besides issuing criminal citations.  Additionally, city police officers and county deputies are not authorized to conduct CSA Inspections and to issue CSA Violations except that in the City of Boise and the County of Ada, there is currently one officer in each  agency who is certified as a “Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration Officer” and who may conduct a CSA Level III Inspection of the driver of a commercial motor vehicle.  The officers may also conduct Level I Inspections.

 

[n2]  The points resulting from violations of regulations discovered during inspections and crash investigations against the driver are triple weighted for the first 12 months, double-weighted for months 13-24, and single weighted for months 25-36.  After 3 years and 1 day for a driver under CSMS, a violation essentially ceases to exist, for CSA purposes.

 

[n3]  The points resulting from violations of regulations discovered during inspections and crash investigations against the carrier are triple weighted for the first 6 months, double-weighted for months 7-12, and single weighted for months 13-24.  After 2 years and 1 day for a carrier under CSMS, a violation essentially ceases to exist, for CSA purposes.

]  Idaho is working on administrative procedures and there is a hearing officer to review unresolved DataQ’s.

[n6]  Idaho Code Section 49-335(1)(4) – A person is disqualified for the period of time specified in 49 CFR part 383 if found to have committed two (2) or more of any of the offenses specified in subsection (1) or (2) of this section, or any combination of those offenses, arising from two (2) or more separate incidents.

© David G. Ballard, JD, October 12, 2013.  

     This article is for general informational purposes only, it is neither legal advice nor is it intended to be legal advice; and it is not an exclusive statement of statutory or regulatory provisions or case law.  Any questions should be submitted to your attorney for his/her analysis.