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Commercial drivers: Don't drink and get behind the wheel

Commercial drivers usually have vehicles much larger than the others on the roads. Semi-trucks, box vans and other vehicles all have a potential to cause serious harm if they're involved in a collision. They weigh more than passenger vehicles, leading to a potential for crushing injuries.

As a commercial driver, you need to be aware of the regulations that apply to you specifically. You need to have a commercial driver's license, for example, before you can ever get behind the wheel of a big rig. You'll always be held to a higher standard than other drivers because of the fact that your vehicle has the potential to cause much more harm in a collision.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in charge of the regulations that affect commercial drivers. These regulations affect federal, state and local government drivers, for-hire carriers, those who assign drivers, those who own or lease vehicles for commercial purposes, churches, civic organizations and private motor carriers.

The majority of states have accepted the FMCSA's regulation requiring commercial drivers to have a .04 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. That means that drivers who drink alcohol may not have a BAC of .04 or higher and be behind the wheel, even though the standard for passenger vehicle drivers is .08 percent. The FMCSA also requires alcohol testing after an accident or upon suspicion of intoxication. Drivers may also have to submit to randomized BAC tests and drug testing as a requirement of employment.

Failing a test or getting a DUI could end your career as a commercial driver. Be aware of your rights, so you can fight to keep your career.

Source: FindLaw, "Commercial DUI Regulations," accessed June 14, 2018

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