Truck drivers face strict alcohol rules

Driving a truck means carrying a tremendous responsibility. The size and potential weight of a fully loaded tractor-trailer can be a deadly weapon in the hands of a negligent driver. This is why the rules for truckers can seem strict and harsh to some. Nevertheless, with so much at stake, you may understand the need for such rigid rules, such as requiring you to rest a certain number of hours before resuming your route.

Rules for alcohol consumption for truckers are also different from those for drivers of passenger vehicles. In fact, even if you are driving your own vehicle, your commercial driver’s license may be in jeopardy if you are convicted of a drunk driving offense. It is smart to understand how Texas and federal laws apply to you and your career as a truck driver.

What are the rules?

In most states, the legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is .08. Anyone who submits to a breath or blood test following an arrest for suspicion of drunk driving hopes to have a BAC far below that level. However, if you drive a truck for a living, your BAC limit is half that amount.

At .04 — the BAC limit for truckers that the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration has established, there is not much alcohol you can consume and still have a BAC that allows you to operate a truck safely and legally. In fact, depending on your weight and other factors, one beer may place you at risk. Other rules that apply to you include the following:

  • Truck drivers may not have alcohol in the cab of their vehicles.

  • You may not consume alcohol in any amount within four hours of beginning your duties.

  • You must be completely sober to do any repair work on a disabled vehicle, inspecting a commercial vehicle or servicing a truck.

  • Truck drivers may not consume alcohol while waiting at a facility or terminal.

  • You may not have alcohol in your system when loading or unloading your truck.

Needless to say, using alcohol when you must be on the job can place your future at risk. A drunk driving conviction may result in the loss of your CDL, which will prevent you from continuing in your career as a truck driver. You may face other penalties as well. If you are facing drunk driving charges as a CDL holder, you would be wise to reach out for advice from an attorney who can assist you in building a strong defense strategy.

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