What Commercial Drivers (CDL holders) need to know about Negligent Operator Points (aka "Points") in the State of California... : CALIFORNIA DUI and CDL DEFENSE CENTER BLOG

What Commercial Drivers (CDL holders) need to know about Negligent Operator Points (aka "Points") in the State of California...

by Attorney Felicia Woods-Yates on 02/02/15

What Commercial Drivers (CDL holders) need to know about Negligent Operator Points (aka "Points") in the State of California...

Negligent Operator Points can result from violations of the California Vehicle Code, as well as violations of city or county ordinances, OR any other code which relates to the safe operation of a motor vehicle.  The California DMV does have the authority to either suspend or revoke a California driver’s license, if an individual incurs too many points within a specified period of time.  As a result of the Interstate Driver's License Compact, the California DMV will also report convictions of violations incurred by out of state licensees to their home state.  That particular state motor vehicle division may convert or assign “points” based upon that state’s criteria, and take any necessary action.  California Vehicle Code (CVC) section 12810.5(a) defines a Class C Negligent Operator as follows: 

  • 4 or more points in 12 months,
  • 6 points in 24 months, or
  • 8 points in 36 months.

Once points accumulate as outlined above, California would move to at least suspend a person’s driving privilege.  Commercial Class A or B drivers, without a special certificate, may be allowed 2 additional points, if they request and appear for a hearing in front of the California DMV.  However, per CVC section 12810.5(b), a violation which occurs while operating a commercial vehicle in California, carries 1.5 times the normal point count!  So, a typical commercial violation, such as CVC section 22406(a) – Speeding in a Commercial Vehicle, would carry 1.5 points; any subsequent violation, such as CVC section 21655(b) – Failure to Use Designated Lane, would result in a total of 3 points assigned by the California DMV.  Minor convictions (such as the foregoing) that occur while you are driving a commercial vehicle or as a holder of a CDL, are retained on your California driving record for three (3) years.  This is of course, in addition to any negative implications from an employer, insurance company, or the Department of Transportation, acting under the CSA 2010 regulations.  Convictions reported by other states are also added to the driving record of a California CDL holder, and may result in sanctions.  

Some additional things to consider for California CDL holders, are that the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 requires that they do the following:

  • Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of any conviction which occurred in other states within 30 days of the conviction.
  • Notify their employer of any conviction within 30 days of the conviction using form Report of Traffic Conviction (DL 535).

Also, if applying for a job as a commercial driver, the California DMV requires that you must give your prospective employer a 10-year employment history of commercial driving.  As a result of the foregoing, CDL holders should always consider contacting an attorney anytime a traffic citation is issued to them in the State of California.

Since everyone's traffic incident is unique to that individual and the specific circumstances, you should consult with a competent defense attorney to determine your best course of action.  Felicia Yates has been practicing law for over 30 years in California and can be reached at (760) 326-5297, and found at Law Offices of Felicia Yates & Associates.


The information presented on this website should not be construed as legal advice as it is presented as information only.  Nor does viewing the information contained on this website form an attorney-client relationship.  There is no substitute for consulting with an attorney regarding the specific facts of a legal matter.  Please note that substantive law and procedure discussed on this website may have changed as a result of legislation, judicial interpretations or changes in administrative policies or procedures.

Note:  This website is not intended to offer services to clients for any matter outside the jurisdiction of the State of California.