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Can a commercial vehicle driver imbibe any alcohol?

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2023 | Truck Accidents

The traffic rules that apply to commercial drivers and the massive vehicles they operate are different than the traffic safety laws that apply to someone with a basic driver’s license who is operating an average passenger vehicle. For example, commercial vehicles are often subject to a slightly lower speed limit on highways.

Professionals who have earned commercial driver’s licenses also have to hold themselves to higher standards than other motorists. For example, when it comes to blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while driving, the rules that apply to those with CDL are stricter than the rules for those driving four-wheeled passenger vehicles.

Some people may confuse the zero-tolerance policies that states have for underage drivers or the no-alcohol rules that companies impose on their workers with the stricter rules for BAC that apply to commercial drivers. But, it isn’t exactly true that someone with a CDL can’t drink at all before getting behind the wheel.

Commercial drivers are subject to very strict limits

Although there are harsher limits that apply to commercial drivers, they can still lawfully drink when not working. The average adult cannot lawfully operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08%. However, when someone is in control of a commercial vehicle, Florida law reduces that BAC cutoff to just 0.04%.

Many people could easily have a BAC of 0.04% and not realize they have exceeded the limit, as they won’t notice any measurable signs of impairment. Many commercial drivers simply choose to forgo any alcoholic beverages in the hours leading up to a shift to avoid the possibility of having a BAC over the legal limit.

Mistakes can cost someone their livelihood

It isn’t just when commercial drivers are on the clock but they are subject to more scrutiny. If someone with a CDL gets arrested for being over the legal limit while in their own vehicle and on their own time, their personal infraction could also potentially cost them their commercial license. Therefore, while commercial drivers can enjoy alcohol, they have to be exceptionally careful about how they do so if they don’t want their personal habits to affect their income.

Learning more about impaired driving rules for those with commercial licenses can potentially help them preserve to income despite a recent arrest.