Truck drivers, bus drivers, including other professionals who have a commercial driver’s license are usually held to high standards compared to non-commercial drivers. And this is for a good reason. Whether you are driving a school bus full of elementary school children or gasoline steel tank, the stakes are usually higher compared to those of a typical automobile driver. As a result, you cannot drive a commercial vehicle if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drugged or drunk commercial drivers cause serious threats to public safety including a serious liability to their employers. This article will outline three essential pieces of information you need to know regarding alcohol and drug use by commercial drivers.
FMCSA blood-alcohol limits
Many states have managed to adopt the FMCSA regulations set for commercial drivers. The alcohol limit is set at 0.04% blood alcohol concentration. You will notice that this is half the standard BAC limit for the non-commercial drivers. The rules from FMCSA also demand that commercial drivers need not operate their vehicles within four hours after taking alcohol.
Alcohol and drug tests
Being a commercial driver, you may be asked to submit to random alcohol testing after an accident in case there is a substantial suspicion of alcohol policy violation. The same can be done as a condition if you want to return to duty after your license is suspended. Other than alcohol testing, FMCSA rules allow for drug tests for these circumstances: After an accident, as an employment condition, in case there is reasonable suspicion and as a condition to return to duty after a drug policy violation. Drugs often screened include cocaine, marijuana, opiates, phencyclidine, and amphetamines.
If you are pulled over on DUI suspicion, you may face sharp penalties for declining to submit to a random blood-alcohol test. Refusal to take this test, under the FMCSA rules is equivalent to pleading guilty to DUI.
Commercial DUI effects
Any CDL holder charged with impaired driving while working is subjected to similar law procedures like a non-commercial DUI defendant. Aside from reduced blood alcohol limit, a commercial vehicle DUI results in an extended license suspension compared to a traditional DUI. This may lead to a job loss.
Moreover, a CDL- holder who violates the traffic rules other than parking offenses is required by law to notify the employer before 30 days lapse. In case the DUI results in a revoked or suspended license, the employer will be barred from employing such as driver provided the license is still in restriction. Finding employment with this DUI record also becomes extremely difficult.