Keeping Impaired Truck Drivers from Driving
Sept. 27, 2018
It is not difficult to imagine the danger that a drunk driver poses to others on Roanoke County’s roads. That danger is compounded even further if said drunk driver is operating a semi-truck or tractor-trailer. Most would likely want to give truckers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to accidents, largely due to wanting to believe that such professionals would never do something as reckless as driving while impaired. And while accident data shared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proves that truckers are involved in significantly fewer alcohol related crashes than other types of drivers, it still shows it to be a problem (with 2 percent of all large truck accidents in 2014 attributed to drivers with blood-alcohol concentrations of .08 or higher).
While traditional motorists are not considered to be legally drunk unless their BAC exceeds the .08 threshold, federal law prohibits truck drivers from operating their vehicles when there is even a detectable presence of alcohol in their systems. In fact, according to Section 392.5(a)(1) of the Code of Federal Regulations, a truck driver is forbidden from consuming alcohol within a period of four hours prior to going on duty. If one does, then the law requires that they be placed out of service for 24 hours. That time period begins immediately upon being issued the order.
Employers also share in the responsibility of ensuring that their drivers are not behind the wheel while impaired. The same section imposing the restriction on drivers drinking within four hours of going on duty also states that motor carriers cannot let a driver drive is said driver’s appearance, conduct or other evidence suggests that they had used alcohol during that restricted time frame.