When it comes to traffic violations, such as impaired driving, the FMCSA standards for drivers with a CDL (commercial driver’s license) are higher than for non-commercial drivers, and there is a good reason for that. No matter if it is a truck hauling hazmat or school bus packed with kids, there is much more at stake comparing to drivers who only use their personal vehicles. A drunk or drugged commercial driver is a great threat for the safety of everyone around him, as well as a serious liability to the company he is working for.
The following employers and drivers are subject to FMCSA regulations CDL drivers impairment:
- Owners and operators of commercial vehicles
- Employers who assign drivers to operate commercial vehicles
- Private and for-hire motor carriers
- Governments (federal, local and state)
- Churches and civic organizations
Blood-alcohol limit for commercial drivers in most states is 0,04, which is twice lower than for non-commercial drivers. Commercial drivers also must not drive at least four hours after using alcohol. They can be asked to submit alcohol testing randomly. It can also happen after an accident or as a condition to get back on duty after a DUI violation. The drugs that are usually screened are marijuana, opiates, amphetamines, cocaine and PCP. Refusing to take a test when pulled over is equal to pleading guilty to DUI.
The suspension a CDL driver gets for DUI is also longer than traditional DUI. His employer will not be able to hire him while the license restriction lasts. Commercial drivers also must notify their employees of any traffic violations committed while driving any personal vehicle within 30 days. For instance, if a CDL driver has been caught drunk while driving his own car, he still has to let his employer know.
Being arrested for DUI can result in a lengthy suspension and after that it can be extremely hard for a CDL driver to find work as a driver. It is important to understand the consequences and, if DUI happens, be prepared for them.