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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Investigation of the Potential for Commercial Driver’s License Holders to Avoid CDL Disqualification

Project Goal:

In this study, the Research Division of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will work with a sample of states to investigate whether it is possible to circumvent the CDL disqualification process and prevent a disqualification action from being initiated or completed.


An important tool for enforcing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations is the CDL disqualification process. Its success partially depends upon effective cooperation and communication between enforcement, licensing agencies, and court systems. Deficiencies at any of those levels may represent vulnerabilities which, either unintentionally or through exploitation, could prevent a CDL disqualification action from being initiated or processed.

To assess the exposure of the CDL disqualification process to such vulnerabilities, FMCSA has identified various mechanisms by which disqualification actions could be disrupted or circumvented. However, further research is needed to determine whether and to what extent any disqualification actions are being prevented via these mechanisms.


FMCSA’s Research Division will obtain licensing information for drivers with disqualifying violations from a sample of states and assess whether various mechanisms resulted in the driver avoiding disqualification. To determine whether jurisdictional differences in CDL program implementation impact potential vulnerabilities, the extent (e.g., percentage or number of cases) of disqualification avoidance will be characterized for each state and mechanism.

The aggregate information may help inform FMCSA and licensing agencies regarding strategic allocation of resources for preventing CDL disqualification avoidance.


USDOT Volpe Center