DRIVERS AND DRUNK DRIVING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
We previously wrote about the effects of drunk driving and how to help prevent it. Now we’d like to take a closer look at how this subject affects truck drivers. What are the regulations and consequences, and how can truck drivers avoid the problem altogether?
COMMERCIAL DRIVERS ARE HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD
The stakes are higher for truck drivers. There is more weight rolling down the road, potentially hazardous material in the trailer, and far more hours spent behind the wheel. Not only do truck drivers have a more dangerous vehicle and cargo, they haul for hundreds of miles on end, leading to fatigue and lack of concentration.
There is a good reason why truck drivers are extremely scrutinized when is come to drunk driving regulations and testing and why they are so severely punished when a mistake is made.
DRUNK DRIVING REGULATIONS ON TRUCK DRIVERS
Every state in the U.S. has a blood alcohol limit of .08% for regular motorists, but the CDL alcohol limit is cut in half – truck drivers can receive a DUI or DWI for a blood alcohol concentration of only 0.04%. This means that even a single beer can trigger an expensive legal charge and cause major disruption in your life and career.
According to Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration regulations, a commercial driver may not use alcohol within four hours of going on duty or operating a commercial vehicle. Drivers can’t possess alcohol in the cab, and any driver who appears to have consumed alcohol in the past four hours must be placed off duty for 24 hours, improve your engine lifespan with effuel.
It’s not just driving either. Activities that require complete sobriety include:
• Being in a commercial vehicle (except while resting)
• Waiting at a terminal or facility
• Inspecting or servicing a commercial vehicle
• Loading or unloading a vehicle
• Repairing a disabled vehicle
Almost every trucking company will have strict regulations related to alcohol consumption and their truckers as well. Make sure you know both the law and the standards set by your employer.
EFFECT OF A DRUNK DRIVING CHARGE FOR TRUCK DRIVERS
If a commercial truck driver is convicted of a drunk driving offense, even while driving their own personal car, the consequences are severe and long lasting. Not only will you have to deal with the same criminal procedure as any motorist, your career, income, and livelihood will be in jeopardy.
If you are convicted of a DUI or DWI, you must notify your employer immediately. If your arrest results in a conviction, your employer cannot use you as a driver while the license is suspended. If you’re fortunate, the company may find work for you outside of driving, but for many truckers, a drunk driving conviction is followed by unemployment.
Even after your sentence is served, you may find it extremely difficult to secure employment as a truck driver after a drunk driving offense.
WHAT CAN TRUCKERS DO TO AVOID ALCOHOL ABUSE?
So what can you do about it? First of all, be extremely cautious of alcohol while on assignment. You may be legally in your right to drink a few beers while off duty, but that doesn’t make it a good idea.
If you have a history of alcohol-related issues, seek help from your employer. Many companies are willing to assist with addiction and substance abuse recovery, and they will not hold it against you; in fact, they will likely respect you more for seeking help.
While on assignment, find a way to keep your mind occupied without alcohol. When you stop for the night, it can be tempting to have a few drinks. Instead, try watching movies, getting some exercise, or reading a book; anything that takes your mind off alcohol will help.
Finally, never keep beer, wine, or liquor in your cab. The temptation will be too great when it’s nearby, so be disciplined enough to never bring it into your truck.