Any person holding a commercial driver’s license (or CDL, for short) is held to higher standards when it comes to impaired driving rather than their non-commercial driver’s license, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

There is a good reason for this: it doesn’t matter what the driver is hauling, the stakes are generally higher than the typical vehicle driver. A company driver who has been drinking or is under the influence of drugs poses a much greater threat to the safety of the public and is also a liability to his/her employer.

There are several examples listed below of drivers and employers that could be subjected to FMCSA regulations regarding commercial drivers’ use of alcohol and drugs. They are:

– Any person who owns/leases commercial motor vehicles

– Any person who assigns drivers to use commercial motor vehicles

– Local, state or federal governments

– Private motor carriers

– For-hire motor carriers

– Churches

– Civic organizations

FMCSA Sets Limits Of Blood Alcohol Content

The majority of states have adopted the regulations set forth by the FMCSA on alcohol and truck drivers, which has set a.04 percent BAC limit. This limit is cut in half from the legal.08 BAC limit for non-commercial drivers in the majority of states. The rules by the FMCSA stipulate commercial drivers are not able to drive a commercial vehicle within four hours of drinking.

Random Alcohol/Drug Tests On Commercial Drivers

After an accident has occurred, truck drivers may be asked to submit to random alcohol and drug tests especially if there is reasonable suspicion or where it’s a condition of going back to work after an alcohol policy violation.

Along with alcohol testing, the regulations by the FMCSA permit the random testing of drug tests in certain cases like a stipulation of employment where there’s reasonable suspicion following an accident and is a condition to go back to work. The drugs listed below are commonly screened:

– Amphetamines

– Cocaine

– Marijuana

– Opiates

– Phencyclidine (or PCP)

When truck drivers have been pulled over for suspicion of DUI, harsher penalties are given for those who refuse to do a blood alcohol test. By refusing to do the blood alcohol test, it’s like pleading guilty.

What Are The Negative Effects Of A Commercial Drivers DUI

Besides being subjected to a lower BAC level (.04), commercial drivers’ license holders who are impaired while working will be penalized the same as non-commercial DUI offenders. Along with a lowered BAC limit, DUI in commercial vehicles can cause a person to lose their license for a longer period of time than those people who have a conventional DUI. It could mean never driving as a company driver again.

On top of that, a CDL-holder who has been convicted of a traffic violation besides parking offenses will need to notify his/her employer within one month (30 days) regardless of what vehicles is being driven. For instance, a truck driver is charged with and convicted of a DUI in his/her personal vehicle and on his/her own time must still tell his/her employer.

If the DUI offender ends up getting his/her license suspended or revoked, his/her employer may bar the person from employment for the time of the restriction. A person looking to work as a commercial driver will find it very hard to get employment with the DUI on their driving record.

To learn more about DUI and commercial driver’s license, get in touch with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation.