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Truck drivers get held to a higher standard for impaired driving

Commercial trucks pose a significant risk to other drivers. Every day across the country, passenger vehicles are involved in serious, even fatal collisions with commercial vehicles, including buses, eighteen wheelers and semi trucks.

Because of their size and weight, large commercial vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries to other vehicles without incurring much damage. They can also experience difficulties when turning or trying to stop suddenly, particularly in inclement weather. Unfortunately, when commercial vehicles get into accidents, other drivers on the road end up paying the price.

Lawful safeguards

There are many laws in place intended to reduce the number of commercial vehicle accidents. Truck drivers and bus drivers have strict regulations they must follow regarding hours of operation. These laws require a certain number of hours resting between driving shifts, limit the total number of hours a driver can operate a commercial vehicle without rest, and limit the total amount of hours a driver can drive during a pay period.

Commercial drivers should also follow laws regarding distracted driving, which could result in a fatal accident. Alcohol and drug use are also regulated to protect others.

Commercial drivers should not work under the influence

The law in Texas is clear. No one should operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That is particularly true of commercial drivers, who could easily cause fatal accidents with a small mistake. In order to reduce the potential for alcohol-related commercial vehicle accidents, states have different limits for blood alcohol content (BAC) when it comes to commercial vehicle operators.

In Texas, the average driver breaks the law when driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. Commercial drivers could face a loss of licensing and criminal charges with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher.

Higher safety standard upheld even when off duty

Many trucking companies require that drivers wait at least two hours after a single drink or have policies that prohibit driving the same day as a driver ingests an alcoholic beverage. It's also important to note that commercial drivers are held to a higher standard even when off duty. A truck driver who pleads guilty or gets convicted of driving a personal motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher will also lose his or her commercial license for three years as a result.

While these laws help reduce the prevalence of intoxicated or impaired commercial vehicle operators, individuals can still make poor decisions that cause accidents. A driver may get called to pick up a load and believe that a few drinks won't cause an issue. Other times, commercial drivers may flagrantly break the law by drinking before or while operating a commercial vehicle. Other drivers shouldn't have to pay the price for those mistakes.

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