As instituted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), those who carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are held at a higher regard than those who have non-commercial driving licenses when it comes to driving under the influence. This is because regardless of what they are driving, commercial drivers present a serious danger to the safety of the public as well as become a major liability to their respective employers.
The majority of states in America has taken up the strict FMCSA regulations regarding alcohol levels for commercial drivers. Set at half the blood-alcohol concentration limit of non-commercial drivers, commercial drivers should have less than .04 percent BAC limit. Furthermore, those who have consumed alcohol are not allowed to drive a vehicle within 4 hours after they have consumed alcohol. This is to ensure that they will not be a risk on the road and prevent any road accidents.
The effects of being charged with commercial DUI can be extensive. According to Ausband & Dumont, aside from being subjected to the same procedures as non-commercial drivers, those who have been charged with commercial DUI can face a lengthy license suspension. This could lead to loss of employment and financial struggles for the driven and their family. Additionally, those who have been convicted of DUI (regardless of whether he was on duty or not at that time) has to inform their employer about the court’s decision and their license suspension or revocation. The employer should prevent the CDL-driver from operating until the end of their license restriction. This often makes re-employment very difficult for the driver because the DUI conviction is already on their records.
There are many ways with which a commercial driver will be required to take a random alcohol test, such as a when there is viable suspicion, after an accident, or as part of the requirements to return from work after a suspension. FMCSA additionally requires drug testing as part of a condition for employment, after an accident, when there is feasible suspicion, and as a prerequisite to go back to work. Refusing to submit to any of these tests can lead to a more severe penalty, and could lead to a guilty plead for DUI according to FMCSA rules.