Commercial Driver FAQs in Iowa
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What does the commercial driver job market look like?
The job market for commercial drivers is strong. As older drivers retire and the demand for transporting goods increases, new jobs will be created. In fact, the American Trucking Association expects the long-haul truck industry to add 111,000 jobs by 2011.
In Iowa, drivers with a CDL can expect to make an average $35,000 per year. Average hourly wages are often between $15 and $20 per hour.
When you apply for a commercial driving job in Iowa, you must provide your employer with dates and job descriptions for all driving-related positions you have held within the last 10 years.
What safety tips should I keep in mind?
Driving for long hours can be very tiring, even if you're an experienced commercial driver. The following tips can help you stay safe while on the road:
- Get enough sleep. Most people require seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Taking naps can help, but there's no substitute for a full night's sleep.
- Don't schedule trips during nighttime hours. When your body is used to sleeping, it's difficult to remain alert. The majority of all heavy motor vehicle accidents occur between midnight and 6 a.m.
- Avoid driving under the influence of over-the-counter cold pills or prescription medications that can make you drowsy. If you're not sure whether a particular medicine is safe, read the packaging inserts or ask your physician for advice.
- Keep cool. Poor ventilation can make you feel sleepy.
What happens if I get a traffic ticket?
The standards for drivers holding a commercial license are higher than for those who have regular driver's licenses. Therefore, there are often additional consequences for commercial drivers who are convicted of traffic violations.
If you are convicted of a traffic violation such as speeding, you must notify your employer within 30 days of your conviction. If your conviction occurred in another state, you must also notify the Office of Driver Services by mail at this address:
- Office of Driver Services
- Iowa Department of Transportation
- Park Fair Mall
- P.O. Box 9204
- Des Moines, IA 50306-9204
Note that these rules apply even if you were driving your personal, noncommercial vehicle at the time of the offense.
According to Iowa law, a driver can lose his commercial driving privileges if he is convicted of reckless driving, improper lane change, following too closely, or speeding 15 mph or more over the posted limit while operating a commercial vehicle. Two offenses within a three-year period will result in a 60-day suspension, while three offenses will earn a 120-day suspension.
What happens if I get an OWI?
Driving commercial vehicles involves a great deal of responsibility. For this reason, an OWI offense (operating while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol) is punished quite severely.
A driver with a CDL will lose his commercial driving privileges for one year if he is convicted of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or above (not 0.08%). If the offense occurs while he is transporting hazardous materials, his license will be revoked for three years. A second offense will result in an automatic lifetime disqualification.
If you are convicted of an OWI, a work permit may not be used for operation of a commercial vehicle. To reinstate your license after a conviction, you'll need to retake the driving exam and written knowledge test.
Federal laws require all drivers with valid CDLs to participate in a random drug and alcohol testing program.
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