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DUI regulations for commercial drivers

It is common sense that driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is always a dangerous proposition, and in many cases leads to property damage, personal injury, or death. Still, each state maintains standards for the amount of alcohol that is allowed in a person's bloodstream before getting behind the wheel is considered illegal. For drivers who are operating a vehicle that requires a commercial driver's license, the regulations are much stricter.

Most states have simply chosen to adopt the regulations laid out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which set the limit for blood alcohol concentration while driving at 0.04 percent, roughly half of the allowable BAC for non-commercial drivers in most states. FMCSA guidelines also prohibit the operation of a vehicle within four hours of consuming alcohol. Violations of these regulations are treated as criminal acts, and subject to even longer suspensions of driving privileges, which can mean serious loss of livelihood for commercial drivers.

Even more potentially disastrous or CDL-holders are are stipulations that those who are convicted of traffic violations of any kind, aside from parking violations, are required to notify their employer within 30 days — even if they were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the violation. Even those who are convicted of DUI offenses during off-duty hours while in a personal vehicle may be barred from employment for the duration of their license suspension, even if the license which is suspended is not their CDL.

The law is rarely kind to drunk drivers, and is doubly harsh when it comes to those operating with commercial driver's licenses. Driving while under the influence simply poses too great a risk to all those around to be taken lightly, far too often leading to injury or death. Anyone who has been affected by a motor vehicle accident, perhaps involving a drunk driver or a commercial vehicle, will find that the guidance of an experienced lawyer can help ensure that their claims are heard fairly while their rights are protected.

Source: FindLaw, "Commercial DUI Regulations," accessed Aug. 19, 2016

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