Are DUI restrictions more severe for truckers?

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Because of the very serious threat that an impaired truck driver presents to others sharing the road, truckers, as well as bus drivers and others with commercial driver's licenses, have a higher standard to uphold than other drivers regarding impaired driving.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes the stricter standards for alcohol and drug use to keep our highways safer for all. Below are some drivers and their employers who are subject to regulations by FMCSA:

-- Motor carriers for hire -- Those who lease or own commercial motor vehicles -- Local, state and federal governments -- Those assigning drivers to operate commercial vehicles -- Civic organizations -- Churches -- Private motor carriers

The blood alcohol limits that FMCSA regulates are set at .04 percent, fully half the limit for passenger vehicle drivers. Other FMCSA regulations stipulate drivers of commercial vehicles are not permitted to operate them within four hours after consuming alcohol.

FMCSA also subjects commercial drivers to random testing for alcohol. Testing may be done whenever a reasonable suspicion exists that a driver has been drinking, after a collision and as a condition to return to duty after violating the alcohol policy. FMCSA regulations also permit drug testing under these circumstances:

-- Pre-employment testing -- Following an accident -- When a reasonable suspicion exists that drug use has occurred -- Before a return to duty after a violation of the drug policy Most drug screens check for the presence of the following drugs: -- PCP -- Opiates -- Cocaine -- Marijuana -- Amphetamines

The penalties are more severe for commercial drivers who refuse to submit to testing their BAC. A refusal is the same as a plea of guilty to DUI under FMCSA rules.

If your wreck involved an impaired commercial driver, you may be able to recover financial damages by filing a claim with the driver's insurance company.

Source: FindLaw, "Commercial DUI Regulations," accessed Aug. 28, 2015

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