Driving under the influence has become a major issue in the United States for the safety of drivers on the road today. Where the laws were once lax and even non-existent, the penalties today for being arrested for driving under the influence are great. For drivers that drive commercially for their job with a commercial driver’s license, the consequences can be even greater and have a more major impact on their livelihood.
Across the entire United States, all 50 states have now adopted the law that the legal limit for driving under the influence is 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers that are of legal drinking age. For drivers that under the legal drinking age of 21, there is a zero-tolerance policy for any blood alcohol content and underage drivers with any blood alcohol content can be charged with driving under the influence.
For drivers that hold commercial driver’s licenses, the laws are definitely much more strict nationwide. Rather than the 0.08% blood alcohol content allowed for everyday drivers, commercial driver’s license holders are held to a legal limit of 0.04% BAC. This fact alone holds people that have a commercial driver’s license to a much higher standard when on the road after having any alcoholic beverages. There are many standards available to drivers on how many drinks to reach the legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol limit. The major factor on each individual is their weight. But, the fact remains that cutting the legal limit to 0.04% for commercial drivers almost gives them a zero-tolerance policy.
The consequences of being convicted of a driving under the influence are harsh for both sets of drivers. Each state has differing laws, but a common thread between most is that high fines exist for drivers on the first and loss of license for a period of time can occur. Beyond one charge, drivers can start to face jail time, even higher fines and potential loss of licensure. As well, drivers with regular licenses in the state can also face consequences from their employers if the convicted of driving under the influence and they are required to drive as part of their job.
For a person with a commercial driver’s license, not only do they face consequences come from fines and possible jail time, but a direct link to the license and their job is also affected. State to state laws do differ for consequences on folks that hold a commercial driver’s license, but many have a lengthy suspension of commercial licenses after the first offense and permanent suspension on the second offense. Employers at this point are forced to let the worker go from their position to hire someone else. As well, having a driving under the influence on a record is making it harder for people to find jobs in the commercial driving world. Insurers of employers are simply telling the employers not to hire any drivers with the offense on their record.