A trend in recent years is having a big impact on truck drivers across the U.S. – federal authorities are pushing courts that process CDL driving violations to uphold these tickets and charges. Truck drivers have historically had the opportunity to negotiate with the courts like everybody else, getting their tickets reduced or dismissed entirely.
Those days appear to be at their end thanks to guidance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The guidance places restrictions on what is referred to as “masking.” Masking is what happens when the courts “hide” a violation by letting the driver plead it down or dismissing the violation. Federal officials say masking keeps dangerous and drunk drivers on the road, putting lives at risk (especially when it comes to drivers of large commercial vehicles).
This means any moving violations like speeding, illegal passing, reckless driving, or DUIs could cost you your CDL, your job, and your livelihood. Each violation will result in a hit to a driver’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score with the FMCSA. Once this score gets below a certain point, the FMCSA may investigate your record and rule that you’re ineligible to continue in this line of work – or worse.
From our perspective at Blankenship Law, this can create challenging circumstances for CDL drivers that regular drivers on the road never face. Even if these restrictions make it harder, we will still take on cases for CDL violations and do what we can to negotiate before your case ends up in trial. It is important, however, to understand that the negotiations are being significantly limited by federal officials, tying the hands of prosecutors' offices and defense attorneys.
We will always advocate for the rights of CDL drivers, regardless of whether or not you’re originally from Indiana or you’re just passing through while on the job. This can involve fighting for your case before, during, and after your trial. It also includes making sure you know of these recent changes. You should always be careful on the roads and follow the applicable laws to keep everyone safe, but this recent guidance reinforces this importance.These anti-masking efforts could put your hard work at risk. Don’t go into this fight alone – contact our team at Blankenship Law and get the best defense for your case. We understand that everyone Makes Mistakes. You don't have to pay for it for the rest of your life.