ACT NO. 37
Commercial driver license
This act amends the commercial driver license (CDL) laws in the motor vehicle statutes to comply with federal requirements and maintain federal approval of the state program. Accordingly, the act provides for the following:
(1) Makes it a criminal offense to operate a commercial motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more. Current law for DUI is a civil violation.
(2) Amends the definition of "disqualification" as follows: The suspension, revocation, cancellation, or withdrawal by a state of a person's privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle; a determination by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, under the rules of practice for motor carrier safety, that a person is no longer qualified to operate commercial motor vehicles under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); or the loss of qualification which automatically follows a testing refusal or conviction of an offense listed in the CFR.
(3) Current CDL law sets forth the violations which result in being disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a one-year period. This act amends current law by providing that failure to stop in any motor vehicle or using any motor vehicle in the commission of any state or federal criminal offense punishable for a term exceeding one year will result in disqualification. It further expands the list of violations as follows: operating, attempting to operate, or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on a highway with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or under the influence of intoxicating liquor or other substance, as defined in section 1201 of this title; operating, attempting to operate, or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on a highway when the person is under the influence of any other drug or under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drug to a degree which renders the person incapable of drivin g safely as provided in the DUI motor vehicle laws; operating or attempting to operate a commercial motor vehicle while the license is revoked, suspended, cancelled, or disqualified; operating a commercial motor vehicle in a negligent manner resulting in a fatal injury. Additionally a person shall be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for life if the person uses any motor vehicle in the commission of any offense under state or federal law that is punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year involving the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of a regulated drug, or possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a regulated drug and for which the person was convicted. An emergency disqualification, provision has been added which allows for a temporary disqualification, pending a hearing if there is a condition that presents a substantial likelihood that death, serious illness, severe personal injury, or a substantial endangerment to health, property, or the en vironment may occur before the reasonably foreseeable completion date of a formal proceeding begun to lessen the risk of that death, illness, injury, or endangerment.
(4) Current CDL law provides that a person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a period of 60 days if convicted of two serious traffic violations, or 120 days if convicted of three serious traffic violations, arising from separate incidents occurring within a three-year period. This act amends and adds to the definition of "serious traffic violation" as follows: a conviction, when operating a commercial motor vehicle or (as added by this act) when operating a noncommercial motor vehicle when the conviction results in the revocation, cancellation, or suspension of the operator's license or operating privilege, of the following: operating a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining a commercial driver license; operating a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver license in the driver's possession, although no person may be found to have committed this violation if he or she provides proof to the enforcement officer who issued the traffic complaint that the individual held a commercial driver license valid on the date the complaint was issued; and operating a commercial motor vehicle without the proper class of commercial driver license or endorsements or both.
(5) When a person who holds a commercial driver license issued by another state is convicted in this state of any violation of state law or local ordinance relating to motor vehicle traffic control, other than parking violations, committed (deleted-in a commercial motor vehicle), and added, in any type of vehicle, the commissioner shall notify the driver licensing authority in the licensing state of the conviction within 30 days.
(6) The judicial bureau and every court having jurisdiction over offenses committed under any law of this state or municipal ordinance regulating the operation of motor vehicles on the highways are directed to forward a record of any conviction to the commissioner within ten days for violation of any state or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control other than a parking violation.
(7) The current Vermont written test for a school bus endorsement does not include a question regarding emergency exits and procedures and did not receive federal approval. This act provides for such a question.
(8) And finally, this act provides that no judge or court may utilize any process to defer imposition of sentence or judgment if a defendant holds a commercial driver license or was operating a commercial motor vehicle when a violation occurred and is charged with violating any state or local traffic law other than a parking violation.
Effective Date: July 1, 2005
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street