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Houston traffic tickets, your personal vehicle, and your CDL
January 25, 2022 at 5:00 AM
A red traffic light.

Under normal circumstances, Houston traffic tickets in your personal vehicle may pose nothing more than a minor inconvenience. But if you operate a commercial vehicle, being charged with a traffic violation at any time can carry serious consequences.

Of course, not all violations are going to cause you significant distress. Depending on the nature of what you’ve been charged with, though, you may find that your ability to use a commercial vehicle and sustain your livelihood severely disrupted, even if the alleged violations were committed while you were operating a personal vehicle.

That’s why it’s paramount for any commercial driver to understand what to watch out for. That means knowing what constitutes a traffic violation and how it may affect your CDL, regardless of where or when you received a ticket.

That’s why in this blog post, we’re going to provide an overview of those violations, how personal vehicle tickets can impact your ability to operate a commercial vehicle, and what steps you can take to get your commercial license reinstated.

Traffic violations in a commercial vehicle

In Texas and most other states, vehicular violations fall into two categories: “serious” and “major.”

Serious violations

Serious violations include a range of different actions on the road. The associated consequences factor in not only the actions themselves, but also the frequency with which you’ve been charged with these violations.

According to Texas’ Department of Public Safety, a serious traffic violation may involve:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Improper lane changes
  • Following too closely

Two of these violations within three years leads to a suspension of your CDL for 60 days. Three within that same timeframe leads to a 120-day suspension.

Major violations

As their name would imply, major violations come with more serious consequences. These are generally more severe offenses that could lead to more issues than just a license suspension, including anything ranging from high fines to potential prison time.

Major traffic violations include:

  • DUI-related charges
  • Leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run)
  • Felony acts while operating a CMV (with more severe consequences for a hazmat transportation vehicle)

These types of offenses can lead to a one to three-year CDL suspension for just the first violation. If you’re charged a second time, the suspension is permanent.

Consequences for traffic tickets in a personal vehicle

While the above violations are stated to apply specifically to someone operating a commercial vehicle, some of them come into play even when they occur while you’re operating your own personal vehicle.

It’s generally safe to assume you’re equally liable to lose your CDL in your personal vehicle as in your commercial one unless a listed violation specifically states that an act must occur while you’re operating your CMV for the associated consequences to come into effect.

Special considerations for Texans

On the topic of Houston traffic violations specifically, it’s also worth noting the penalties associated with the Texas Hold’em initiative. If you’re caught transporting illegal contraband or aliens in your commercial vehicle, you’ll be face