CDL Disqualifications

Thinking about a career change with a CDL but unsure about having a less than stellar driving record? We have compiled a list of disqualifications for Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

“The right of a citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, by horsedrawn carriage, wagon, or automobile, is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but a common right which he has under his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ” –

     It’s important to understand that as a society and according to our Constitution (and there have been many debates over what is a “right” and a “privelage”) each state can set their own higher standards . These standards are based from a federal standard and it is each state’s responsibility to enforce their own laws and regulations. However when it comes to a CDL license there are set standards that are followed by every state no matter where the licensee was road tested or hold their CDL license in. 

No Marijuana Vectors by Vecteezy

    With the legalization of Marijuana use by adults 21+ in the three states that the Teamsters Local 251 Driving School predominantly trains drivers for, it should be understood that Marijuana is ILLEGAL  on the federal level even though it’s legal in the state. A prospective trainee is not allowed to smoke marijuana while training at the school or working for an employer while performing safety sensitive duties like driving. If you have smoked marijuana in the past legally and are thinking about  a CDL, this doesn’t exclude you from training at the school but keep in mind a clean drug screen is required before enrollment into our program.  For those participants of legal drinking age, drinking and driving is illegal in a regular car or truck but as a CDL driver the consequences can be much more severe leading to a permanent loss of a CDL. 

Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut CDL Disqualifications



The FMCSA regulations specify certain circumstances that will disqualify a driver from legally operating a CMV, temporarily or permanently.

Issues resulting in disqualification apply only to CDL or CLP holders, or those required to have a CLP or CDL in the vehicle they are operating. Tickets, DUI or DWI, and other legal issues that happened before a driver was issued a CDL or CLP, or to non-CDL or CLP holders, who were not required to have one, will affect drivers only as far as company policy, with the exception of getting the Hazmat endorsement.

Some circumstances will result in a lifetime disqualification from operating CMV’s, with some being eligible for reinstatement after 10 years. A driver who uses a CMV in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance is disqualified for life with no possibility of reinstatement.

Disqualification For Major Offenses:

Being under the influence of alcohol as prescribed by State law. Being under the influence of a controlled substance. Having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater while operating a CMV. Refusing to take an alcohol test as required by a State or jurisdiction under its implied consent laws or regulations. Leaving the scene of an accident. Using the vehicle to commit a felony, other than felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance.

CDL Driver Disqualification for Serious Traffic Violations:

Speeding excessively, involving any speed of 15 mph or more above the regulated or posted speed limit. Driving recklessly, as defined by State or local law or regulation. Making improper or erratic traffic lane changes. Following the vehicle ahead too closely. Violating State or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control.

In addition to the disqualification listed for all three states, Rhode Island also has some additional rules that may prevent obtaining a CLP/CDL. Your CDL may be disqualified or suspended for violations committed in both commercial and non-commercial vehicles. Violations include:

  • DUI/DWI offense and refusing to submit to a BAC test
  • Violating out-of-service orders
  • Hit and runs
  • Felonies involving a vehicle
  • Speeding and reckless driving
  • Driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL
  • Driving without the proper endorsements
A little confused as to if you are eligible or not to apply for a CDL?

     There is a lot of information packed into this one page that could be confusing if not actually downright overwhelming and we agree! It’s gets much more confusing when you look at the federal regulations along with each individual states requirements as well. We have hyperlinked the federal regulations along with each of the individual states as well. If  you still have questions or are unsure if you are able to apply for a CDL permit don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below or calling us during normal business’ hours.  

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