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Judges learn when revoking a commercial driver’s license is appropriate

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 5:43 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Truckers travel on highways; morning, noon and night.

Many of them and the companies who employ them follow the rules when it comes to qualifications, time behind the wheel, and observe impaired driving laws.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the industry. But with 3.5 million truckers traveling 300 Billion miles a year; some working for one of 30,000 companies, it’s an industry that’s tough to rein in.

Regulators report if all trucks were stopped today, and inspected, one in 4 trucks would be taken out of service.

Between 2009 and 2017 crashes involving big rigs have gone up 41%. Because it can’t do it alone, the MCSA awards hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to help lower these troubling numbers.

The National Judicial College here in Reno is the recipient of such grants. The college recently received news it’s been awarded more than $2,000,000 dollars to educate judges about commercial driver’s licenses and regulations which require the revocation of such licenses.

“Once you bring in a CDL holder, it’s a whole new ballgame,” says Joy Lyngar, Provost of the National Judicial College. “And you know the weight of those vehicles can really be a road hazard if you don’t have good drivers. So, a judge has less discretion in those cases. And certainly, can’t mask, cannot plead that down, send that person to a driving safety class to save their CDL. It is not an option. It is against the law,” she says.

She says often judges are not aware of CDL regulations and may allow a driver to retain a CDL when it’s inappropriate.

“The goal is absolutely to have safer highways,” says Lyngar

At the end of the course, judges will not only understand what cannot be sentenced when it comes to CDL drivers who have committed certain traffic violations, they will also be apprised of new studies and advancements in toxicology, alcohol and drug detection screening as well as the use of ignition interlock systems.

In the past judges would often travel to Reno to take such courses.

But in these times of COVID, the classes will be done remotely, something the National Judicial College is well verse; the college has taught distance classes for the last ten years.

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