Like many states, California uses a license demerit point system to keep track of unsafe drivers. These points have special application to commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) and commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). This article explains when points apply, how they are valued, and when they lead to penalties.
Generally, a driver will face penalties after acquiring four points in 12 months, six points in 24 months, or eight points in 36 months. However, points are valued differently if the points are attributable to the driver's operation of a vehicle requiring a class A or B license (commercial license).
Violation in a CMV. Violations committed while driving a CMV will be valued at one-and-one-half the normal point value. This results in a quicker accrual of demerit points. However, for violations in a CMV, the driver will be suspended only after six points in a 12-month period, eight points in a 24-month period, or ten points in a 36-month period. Violations occurring in a CMV are not eligible for point forgiveness through traffic school.
Penalty. Once a driver reaches one of the point limits, the DMV will suspend the driver's commercial license for up to one year. The driver must also maintain proof of insurance for three years.
While most traffic offenses can result in point assessment, certain offenses, like driving under the influence (DUI), can result in CDL disqualification.
A driver subject to a point-related suspension can request a hearing prior to the suspension date. The hearing officer has the authority to reduce or modify the suspension period.