Guidelines set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, establish the legal blood-alcohol concentration limit for truckers at a much lower level than for vehicle drivers. In fact, it is precisely half the standard limit, at 0.04%. Moreover, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association also stipulates that commercial drivers may not operate a commercial vehicle within the four-hour period after consuming alcohol.
Per Texas law, an officer may stop a vehicle for probable cause and mandate a chemical test if the officer suspects the person of driving while intoxicated. For truckers with a commercial driver’s license, this same safeguard does not apply. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association allows the random drug and alcohol testing of drivers, and probable cause to stop the truck is not necessary. If a commercial driver refuses to submit to a blood test, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association views this as the equivalent of pleading guilty of a DWI and punishes the refusal the same as it were a DWI conviction.
A person with a commercial driver’s license who receives a DWI conviction while driving as a truck driver, that is an on-duty DWI, is subject to the same criminal law procedures as a non-commercial driver. However, in addition to the standard penalties, the driver who holds a commercial driver’s license is also subject to stricter penalties by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. For example, it is common for the Association to suspend a commercial driver’s license for a longer than Texas state law requires. For many drivers, this can equate to a loss of livelihood.
This article is for educational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.