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What happens to commercial vehicle drivers who drink?

It goes without saying that people should avoid getting behind the wheel after having consumed alcohol. Yet many may question exactly how long one should wait until it is safe for them to get behind the wheel again. The answer to this question may be difficult to define for the average driver, yet for those who drive professionally, the standards are quite clear. Thus, if you are involved in an accident with a truck or bus driver (and you suspect alcohol may have played a factor), pinpointing whether the driver was in violation of the law might not be overly difficult.

The standards detailing the prohibition of alcohol use by commercial vehicle drivers are set in the Code of Federal Regulations. Beyond prohibiting drivers from drinking on the job, the law also states that they are not to be allowed behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle within four hours of having had a drink. In addition, drivers are not allowed to possess wine or beer while working (even if they are not consuming it). The only exceptions to this rule would be when one is transporting alcohol or transporting passengers who are allowed to carry alcohol.

A driver that violates any of these standards is to be placed out of service for a period of at least 24 hours. Upon receiving such a restriction, the driver must immediately report it to both their employer and the appropriate state agency. A driver may not complete a route that they are in the middle of after having been placed out of service, as the 24-hour period begins immediately upon the issuance of the order.

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