Texas bill prevents CDL holders from concealing convictions

| 3/3/2003

Legislation in the Texas House of Representatives would do away with deferred adjudication in traffic cases involving commercial drivers, The Dallas Morning News reported.

If passed, HB1034 would mean that a commercial driver convicted of a traffic offense, even if it involves his personal vehicle, would not be eligible to keep his driving record clean by taking and completing a driver safety course.

The proposal, which would make Texas law compliant with federal motor carrier safety regulations, could affect the employment opportunities and insurance availability for more than 772,000 CDL holders, according to the newspaper.

The bill was inspired by the bus crash last summer near Terrell, TX, that killed the driver, Ernest Carter, and four teen-age church members from Garland.

Federal investigators have blamed the fatal crash on fatigue and illegal drug use by Carter, a 51-year-old Dallas man with a long history of convictions for traffic offenses, theft and drunken driving in Texas and California, The Morning News reported.

While deferred adjudication is typically reserved for first-time offenders, Carter received it at least three times in Dallas alone. He was also allowed to attend driver safety schools in Dallas, Coppell and McLennan County.