Commercial Driver FAQs in Iowa

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.
  • 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.

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. If you accumulate 2 offenses within 3 years, it will result in a suspension for 60 days, while 3 offenses will earn a suspension for 120 days.

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 1 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. If the offense occurs while he is transporting hazardous materials, his license will be revoked for 3 years. A 2nd 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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