How Many CSA Points Does it Take to Suspend Your CDL?

Author: Rohan Paulos
Updated On:

If you are commercial truck driver or planning to become and worried how many points can you get before your CDL is suspended or get punished anyway, then this special report will answer your CSA scores questions.

Truly, there are some offenses that can lead to the revocation of driver’s license, even for both commercial drivers and those operating a private license vehicle. 

In this report, you will not only learn facts about offenses, how to avoid them, also learn more about how the CDL point system work to engender road safety, as well number of CSA does it take to have license discontinued.

How many points can you get before your cdl is suspended?

How Many Points Can You Get Before Your CDL is Suspended?

There are some CSA offense that will cause you to lose all driving privileges including commercial driver license. During the revocation or suspension period, a CDL holder isn’t allowed to drive any commercial motor vehicle as safety for every road-users is paramount. 

If you’re a CDL holder and gets 8 points within 18 months:

  • For the first time, you are revoked for 30 days
  • The second suspension is for 60 days
  • The 3rd suspension or more last for 90 DAYS

Your license will be revoked for a year if:

  • You get 12 CSA score within 2 months
  • 18 pts within 24 months
  • 24 pts within 36 months.

If you need to operate a non-commercial vehicle, the holder of CDL license can only apply for some limited driving privilege.

Learn about non cdl trucks and their weight limits for safety! RELATED: Discover when should I need a CDL for private use in Florida or CA?

How Many CSA Points Will it Take to Suspend Your CDL?

So, how much CSA points is bad? As an established code of conduct, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) lays out a comprehensive list of violations as a response to drivers’ carelessness and nonchalance to safety.

For the rather technical aspects of loading freights, the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability – CSA – enforcement program handles it and, again, safety is a big consideration like when improper securement of freight is detected.

If for some infractions you are issued a citation, your C.D.L could be discontinued. A demerit of just two CSA pts can put you in danger of suspension.

Editor’s Tips  – Can I get my cdl back after 10 years I downgraded it or have it stopped?

Truck on a city highway

What is CDL Point System and How Does it Work?

The score system is the set shorthand way for the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) to effectively monitor driving record and general safety compliance. 

Here is how it worksLet’s say do take some wrong approach and run afoul of CSA FMCSA safety regulation, you are thereafter ascribed a certain number of points for such a CSA violation against safety.

While you are assessed might vary by state, they are typically anywhere between 1.5 to 2 times the usual amount you would get if you were driving car. 

Furthermore, another thing that determines your CSA pts is the severity of violation. For instance, you may get only 2 CSA score for driving a few miles over the set speed limit, but a violation like reckless driving can get as many as 5 or even more serious CSA issues.

The more points you get for safety violations , the more overall points, which can consequently put CDL in jeopardy. 

As a rule, these pts will remain in your commercial driver’s license record for a specific period. All the pts you get are cumulative. For example, if you get 3-points from a moving violation and 4 points from yet another violation, it adds up to 7 on license. 

The drawback on driving record is that with enough CSA score in a given timeframe, it can get it discontinues or worse, revoked. Points, even if they have not gotten past the limit, can prevent you from getting a job. 

One way you can reduce pts is to hire a good lawyer to defend you or enter a plea bargain whenever you get a ticket. It might cost you, but it would be money well spent. Editor’s Tips  – do I need a C.D.L to pull a 14,000 lb trailer with Gooseneck?

driving with private license

How Long Do Score Stay on Your Drivers License?

The good news is that pts don’t stay on CDL license forever. The bad news is that CSA scores are a pain for as long as you might have them. The CSA score you get depend on the type of offense. 

Generally, most single-point violations will remain on drivers license records for at least 39 months or 3 years and 3 months from the date of disposition or conviction. Although, this may vary from state to state.

So, if you maintain a clean record, that is not receiving new pts for the period of 39 months, the point violation will be removed from license. Following that, you will have a clean driving record. 

When it comes to more serious violations like hit-and-runs, DUIs, excessive speeding, and reckless driving, to name only a few, the point violation will stay on CDL license for a considerably longer period of 13 years. Read this: can i get it back after 10 years or not and what exactly do this in this case!

Offenses Causing CDL Violation Points

For moving or commercial C.D.L violation points, some of the listed driving or traffic offenses will be counted as violation and may eventually leads to suspension:

  • Accumulating pts due to traffic offenses that happen when driving a vehicle. These offenses may include careless driving, speeding, or driving under the influence.
  • Driving a motor with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of at least 0.08%. If under the age of 21, driving with a BAC of 0.02%. This may cause administrative revocation or suspension.
  • Driving a motor without a driver’s license. This cause an administrative suspension.
  • Refusing to submit a chemical testing when such is required by the law enforcement agencies(An administration revocation ) 
  • Failure to submit chemical testing when required doing so by law enforcement. This causes a revocation of one year.
  • Suspension or revocation is ordered by the court due to alcohol or drug-related offense. This leads to abuse or loss of administrative action against the license.

CDL for tractor?

Here are some commercial CSA / CDL point system violations:

  • Excessive speeding: 3 points
  • Driving when already disqualified: 2 points
  • Not keeping to the right: 2 points
  • Failure or wrong signal: 2 points
  • Following closely: 2 points
  • Wrong lane: 2 points
  • Not having commercial driver license: 2 points CSA.

Can You Get a CDL with Points on Your License?

Before you get the original commercial driver’s license , you should qualify for the license depending on your driving license. If you have a current denial, cancellation, or revocation, you may not get it.

If you have a conviction of a 6 point violation 24 months before the application, you may not qualify. RELATEDWhat happens if you drive a semi without CDL?

How Many Unsafe Driving Points Can a CDL Driver Have?

In other words, what number of CSA score can a truck driver have for unsafe driving? CDL drivers who are generally known as professional driver’s license holders only have a demerit point limit of 14-points within a 36-month or three-year period. 

For context and reference, the following are pts citations and what can cause them: 

  • 3-Point Citations: You get this if you fail to dim your headlights, have inadequate reflectors, ignore lane restrictions, and suffer an assortment of defective mechanical mechanisms.
  • 4-Point Citations: This you get when you fail to have a pre-trip inspection and drive with a faulty braking system, among others.
  • 6-Point Citations: This mostly about inoperable headlights, taillights, or turn signals. Power steering deficiencies are also listed as a 6-point violation.
  • 7-Point Citations: This specifically covers everything from lack of proper seat belt use to tie-down deficiencies to improperly secured or managed loads.
  • 8-Point Citations: You will get this if you violate airbrake restrictions or drive with worn tire treads.
  • 10-Point Citations:n  You will be affected if truck is considered out of service as a result of an expired inspection sticker or similar deficiencies.

License for big box trucks?

What Cause 6 Points on CDL License?

As you must already know by now, you get points on license or have them added to driving record for any violation you make.

You get 6-points on commercial driver’s license if you get a ticket for speeding 30 miles over the speed limit, this will lead to demerits.

. Other violations that may tack 6 pts to record include: 

  • Overspeeding that results in an accident.
  • Running from the scene of an accident.
  • Moving violations that cause bodily harm.

Depending on the state, it may get your C.D.L automatically discontinued if you are booked twice (ie. accumulate 12 points) or booked thrice (ie. accumulate 18 points) within a period of 12 months and 18 months respectively. Read this: what are DOT laws for gooseneck trailers and related laws for this unique equpments!

Can I Get a CDL with 4 Points on My License?

Yes, you can. As you may know, before you can get your commercial driver’s license , you must first qualify for normal driver’s license. And 4 points on license will not stop you from getting one.

However, there would be a problem if you get a 6-point violation 24 months before the application, because then you will not qualify. Also, if you are facing a denial, suspension, cancellation, or revocation, you may not get it.

Points cdl for towing vehicle

FAQ about CDL license points!

Can you get a CDL with 2 points?

Yes, you can get a commercial driver’s license with 2 points on your driving record. As long as you don’t get cumulative 2 points. Getting a 6-point violation anytime within 2 years before the application will prevent you from getting a CDL.

Can I get a CDL with 3 points on my license?

Yes, you can get a C.D.L with 3-points on your driving record. But seeing as the FMCSA is strict in their expectation for all vehicles and loads to provide optimal safety during transportation, getting 2 CSA after you get it might cause a suspension.

What is DOT point system and is it different?

DOT means the US Department of Transportation and they ensure an up-to-date driving record is accounted for by every driver in the country. The primary goal of the DOT point system is to improve driving habits and to ensure safe driving.

A DOT point system is no different. More report: you need a C.D.L to drive for UPS or similar companies?

Truck driver point system in Alabama Vs GA Vs Texas

Different states operate varying point systems. For instance, a moving violation in Alabama will stay on driving record for 5 years from the day of conviction.

For Texas, on the other hand, the violations will remain on record for 3 years from the conviction date. Lastly, points for violation will remain on record foe 2 years. 

How many points disqualifies you from driving?

Under the 1988 Road Traffic Offenders Act, if a driver accumulates 12 CSA score in their driving record within 36 months or 3 years, which is known as totting up, the authority may suspend you for driving for about 6 months or more, depending on the state. 

Driving History of a Commercial Driver

When driving from one state to the other your commercial driving history will move with you from one state to the other.  This information is usually shown under the information driving history.

If it occurred from a serious or disqualifying offense, or if there are additional offenses, all the historical and current offenses are used to determine if there is a need for the disqualification of the commercial driving privilege.


When you lose your commercial driving privileges, this is known as a disqualification.  If you aren’t revoked for a certain period, you can continue to drive private noncommercial motor vehicles without getting limited driving privileges.  Some of the reasons that may lead to disqualification include:

driving with cdl on highway

Disqualification for 60 days

If a driver who is a CDL holder has 2 serious convictions within 3 years, this will lead to a 60 days disqualification. 

Some of the serious traffic convictions include driving at a speed of 15 mph and above, reckless driving, wrong change of lane, tailgating, a traffic violation that resulted in a fatal crash, driving a commercial vehicle without a C.D.L, or driving with the wrong class or driving with a C.D.L with restrictions.

Disqualification for 90 days

If a driver violates an out-of-service order when driving a CMV, this may lead to a 90 days disqualification.

Disqualification for 120 days

 If a driver had a conviction for 3 or more serious events within 3 years, they will be disqualified for 120 days. The serious events are similar to the offense for a 60 days violation.

Violating a highway or railroad regulation when driving a commercial vehicle will also lead to disqualification for 120 days. View non moving violations effects!

180 days disqualification

This can result from:

  • Getting convicted for the first time while under an out of service order
  • A first conviction for carrying hazardous material  while under an out of service order
  • Carrying more than 15 passengers under an out of service order

One year disqualification

  • Having a BAC of 0.04% or more when driving a commercial vehicle 
  • CDL holder driving  a CMV  under the influence
  • A CMV driver refusing a breath or blood test
  • Not stopping at the scene of an accident
  • Driving a motor vehicle negligently  resulting in a fatality
  • Lying when applying for a commercial driver’s license
  • Violating a highway or railroad within 3 years when operating a CMV.

Disqualification for 2 years

Having a second traffic violation

Three years disqualification

  • Getting convicted for the first time for one of the leading 7 violations in the disqualification for one year but when driving hazardous materials.
  • Getting convicted for the third time  in 10 years while under an out of service order.
  • Getting convicted more than 2 times in 10 years for under an out of service order while driving a commercial automobile that is transporting over 15 passengers or hazardous goods.

Lifetime disqualification

  • Getting convicted for the second time for the leading 7 violations in the one year disqualification,
  • Getting convicted for the first time for the use of a motor vehicle to make or distribute drugs,
  • Getting convicted for the first time for using a a auto to commit a felony.
Summary of how points before your cdl is suspended and vehicle maintenance!

Now we are happy you have a great amount of knowledge of commercial driver’s license point system and how it affect your professional truck driving career, road safety and even for lacking good vehicle maintenance.

In addition to proving plenty factual tips about pts on license we ensure we armed you credible answers to more queries like scores of CSA it will cause to have C.D.L revoked?

Generally, having pts in commercial driver’s license may easily cause suspension and revocation.  Even where this doesn’t happen, it can affect an employer’s decision in the hiring process.

A pro driver


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