People who depend on being able to drive commercial vehicles understand the importance of keeping that driver’s license valid. What they might not think about is how a small mistake can cost them their livelihood. That’s exactly what can happen if they face a drunk driving charge.
The limits for blood-alcohol concentration are lower for a commercial driver than it is for other drivers. The limit is set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It’s set at .04% for commercial drivers. Commercial drivers also have to wait four hours between consuming alcohol and driving.
Why is drunk driving so detrimental to commercial drivers?
Commercial drivers need to have their licenses in good standing to be able to work. If their license is suspended or revoked, their ability to support themselves stops. It can also be difficult for them to get another job once they can get their driver’s license reinstated.
The loss of income comes at a time when expenses will increase because of the legal battle they’re having to face. The job loss may come quickly, even if they aren’t convicted. Commercial drivers only have 30 days to alert an employer of the offense.
The first conviction for drunk driving will result in at least a one-year license suspension. It can be longer than that for some drivers. If you’re in a HAZMAT vehicle and get caught driving while impaired, the suspension is three years.
Commercial drivers are also bound by the implied consent law. Whether you’re driving a commercial vehicle or a personal one, you will face at least a one-year license suspension if you refuse to submit to chemical testing to determine your impairment.
Anyone who’s facing a drunk driving charge and has a CDL needs to understand the full implications of the issue. Your livelihood could be on the line, so it’s critical that you work to find out what option is the best for your case. The goal is usually to keep the penalties, including collateral consequences, to a minimum. Working with someone who’s familiar with these cases is beneficial so you can draw from their knowledge.