Understanding DUI Laws For Big Rig Drivers

Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by any substance is both illegal and dangerous under any circumstances. But when the driver is maneuvering a large commercial truck, often at high speeds, the stakes are raised in an already deadly situation.

Tragically, these occurrences still take place, regardless of stringent federal laws mandating substance use for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. All truck drivers who possess a commercial driver license (CDL) and drive CMVs on municipal roadways are subject to alcohol and drug tests by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), as reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). CDL drivers are subject to the following tests:

  • Pre-employment
  • Post-accident
  • Random testing
  • Reasonable suspicion
  • Return-to-duty
  • Follow-up testing

In the instance a CDL driver tests positive for substance use, or rejects testing, by federal law they are condemned from operating on public roads. In Pennsylvania, the state DUI punishment scale is:

  • General impairment, which is 0.08-0.099 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
  • High BAC, which is 0.10-0.159 percent
  • Highest BAC, which is 0.16 percent and higher

The higher the BAC level, the more serious the infraction, and previous violations increase penalties exponentially. Any CMV driver involved in a truck accident in Pennsylvania found to be impaired at any level may be subject to the “High BAC” punishment, even when their BAC level was not. Refusing testing for substances may also result in “Highest BAC” penalties, regardless of BAC level.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a big rig accident due to an impaired or otherwise negligent driver, call the Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at Anapol Weiss at 1-866-735-2792 for a free review of your case.

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