Attorney David L. Zerbe
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In Indiana Law

Alcohol and CDLs don't mix

Truck drivers provide a valuable service to the country. They transport goods from all over the country to different parts of the country, including Lawrenceburg. Driving trucks can provide a lucrative career for good drivers, but it could all end with just one mistake -- drunk driving.

The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration holds truck drivers to a more stringent standard when it comes to all traffic violations, including driving under the influence. It's not surprising, since they operate the heaviest and largest vehicles on the road, that an accident involving one of these mammoth vehicles could cause severe devastation.

What does the FMSCA require of truck drivers?

Indiana's legal limit for driving after drinking is 0.08%, but the FMSCA restricts truck drivers to a legal limit of just 0.04%, which equals around one beer for many people. As a truck driver, you could face charges for drunk driving with just half of the alcohol in your system as normal passenger vehicle drivers -- and you don't have to be in a commercial vehicle. Even in your personal vehicle, this lower blood alcohol content is a restriction. Obviously, this would seriously disrupt and possibly even end your career.

The FMSCA imposes additional regulations on truck drivers as well. You cannot drink alcohol within four hours of getting behind the wheel. If you do, you cannot drive or engage in any of the following truck-driving related activities for a minimum of 24 hours:

  • You can't make repairs to your vehicle if it's disabled.
  • You can't even be in a commercial vehicle unless you are resting.
  • You can't load or unload your vehicle.
  • You can't wait out your time in a terminal or other facility.
  • You can't service or inspect a commercial vehicle.

As you can see, the agency takes alcohol consumption by truck drivers seriously, and most employers do as well. Depending on your company's rules, you may not even be able to drive after an arrest, let alone a conviction. Moreover, you may have trouble finding work after a conviction. The criminal penalties for drunk driving are probably minor when compared to the impact it will have on your livelihood.

If you do end up facing drunk driving charges here in Indiana, you probably already know it would be in your best interests to challenge those charges. If the circumstances warrant it, you could save your CDL and your job. Otherwise, you could at least work to minimize the impact by obtaining a reduction in the charges.

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Attorney David L. Zerbe

The Zerbe Firm
15 West Center Street
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025

Phone: 812-270-9999
Phone: 812-537-0001
Fax: 812-537-5889
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