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Understanding commercial DUI regulations

The rules for commercial drivers are sometimes different than the rules for non-commercial motorists. Whether carrying a tank of gasoline or a bus full of passengers, the stakes for a commercial driver can be much higher. A commercial driver who gets behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs poses a major threat to other people on the road. They could also seriously damage the contents of their vehicle, and they pose a major liability to their employer.

That’s why commercial drivers are usually held to a higher standard when it comes to driving under the influence. Driving under the influence—otherwise known as a DUI—can carry harsh legal penalties. Therefore, it’s important for any commercial driver to understand these rules.

Blood alcohol content

Most states have stringent limits on the blood alcohol content, or BAC, for commercial drivers. This limit is usually set at 0.04 percent blood-alcohol concentration—nearly half the legal limit for non-commercial drivers. Sometimes it is also illegal for a commercial motorist to operate their vehicle within four hours or drinking alcohol.

Alcohol and drug tests

Commercial drivers may also be subject to drug and alcohol tests. The tests could be performed randomly, after an accident, when there is suspicion of intoxication or as a condition of return following an alcohol or drug incident. There could also be serious legal penalties if a commercial driver is pulled over and refuses to take a breathalyzer test.

Penalties of commercial DUI

Additionally, commercial drivers face tougher penalties for incurring a DUI on the job. In this case, a DUI could mean a longer drivers’ license suspension. If a commercial driver receives a DUI and is later charged with a traffic violation, even if it happens in his or her personal car, the driver must report the violation to their employer. Either of these scenarios could impact the driver’s job, resulting in significant loss of income.

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