Many truck drivers invest significant financial resources to attend a commercial driver’s license (CDL) training program to operate a tractor-trailer on California roadways. Securing a job in this field isn’t always easy, especially if you want to find one that pays you what you deserve for the long hours you’re bound to spend away from your family and friends.
A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) on your record could deprive you of the career you’ve worked hard to build.
How the law views commercial drivers
Lawmakers hold commercial drivers to a higher standard of safety and care than they do your average passenger car operators. They realize that truckers don’t operate their trucks in a personal capacity, but instead carry cargo or passengers for commercial purposes. These lawmakers see any trucker’s indiscretion as putting the company’s reputation and business on the line.
How laws regulate what truckers do
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets standards that workers employed in certain transportation fields must follow. Some of these FMCSA rules address alcohol and drug consumption among those who:
- Own or lease commercial vehicles
- Employee drivers that operate commercial vehicles
- Workers for the federal, state, or local governments
- For-hire motor carriers
- Private motor carriers
- Civic organizations
The FMCSA prohibits commercial drivers from operating a commercial vehicle within four hours of having consumed alcohol. It also requires these motorists to readily submit to random drug testing, especially following an accident. Any refusal to comply equates to a guilty plea per FMCSA regulations.
Penalties associated with commercial drivers’ DUI convictions
The BAC for commercial drivers is 0.04, which is half the legal limit for non-commercial drivers. Any commercial driver convicted of DUI may face a longer suspension of their driver’s license than a non-commercial driver would.
The FMCSA gives commercial drivers 30 days to report any DUI conviction to their employer. FMCSA regulations prohibit an employer from allowing a CDL license holder from working for them while they have a suspended or revoked license.
If you have been charged with DUI and have a commercial license, you can not only be facing a license suspension or revocation but the loss of your livelihood as well. You may want to consult with a DUI defense attorney to preserve your license and future job prospects.