Commercial DUI: How They Differ

Drivers with a commercial driver’s license are held to a higher standard than other drivers. Considering what their jobs involve, this makes sense. These higher standard also apply to impaired driving. Commercial DUI standards tend to be much more strict than those for a regular DUI. Knowing these changes is important for keeping your CDL…

Commercial DUI: Know The Standards

Blood Alcohol Limits

Most people are familiar with the standard BAC limit of .08%. You might think that this would apply to CDL drivers as well. However, many states actually have much stricter laws when it comes to their BAC levels.

Most states use the Federal Motor Commercial Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines for commercial DUI. The FMCSA sets a .04% BAC limit for CDL drivers. This cuts the standard limit in half! Other FMCSA rules also state that CDL drivers shouldn’t operate a commercial vehicle within 4 hours of having a drink.
Alcohol and Drug Tests

The FMCSA also has the ability to perform alcohol and drug tests on CDL drivers. Alcohol tests can occur for numerous reasons, such as after an accident, as a condition for returning to work after a previous commercial DUI, or just randomly throughout the year. Drug tests can also occur for the same reasons, as well as for pre-employment screenings.

For CDL drivers, these test are mandatory. So are blood alcohol tests if these drivers are pulled over on a DUI suspicion. Under FMCSA rules, a driver refusing to take a blood alcohol test is the equivalent of pleading guilt to a DUI.

Effects of DUI

A commercial DUI can have a number of effects on a driver. While the BAC standards might be lower, the potential punishments aren’t. Most standard DUI punishments still apply to commercial drivers. However, commercial drivers can see longer license suspensions than regular drivers.

Additionally, CDL drivers have to notify their employers of a DUI within 30 days. This applies even if they weren’t driving a commercial vehicle. Often times, CDL drivers convicted of a DUI struggle to find employment after the fact.

A driver in a normal car can already cause a lot of damage if they’re driving drunk. Change this to someone driving a large truck or other heavy-duty vehicle, and you can see how dangerous a commercial DUI is. That’s why CDL drivers need to be aware of just what risks come with driving drunk.