Understanding the Restrictions on Alcohol Use by Truck Drivers

February 12, 2017

Most commercial truck drivers are law-abiding and safe when traveling.  Commercial drivers that operate tractor-trailers may cause horrific trucking accidents when they operate their enormous vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. In order to protect other vehicle occupants, there are strict regulations that pertain to alcohol and drug use by commercial drivers. These rules are designed to keep alcohol-impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel of a big-rig. Nonetheless, both truck drivers and trucking companies sometimes disregard these regulations with tragic results.

A quasi-zero tolerance rule applies when it comes to consuming alcohol in the hours immediately proceeding coming on duty or driving a tractor-trailer. The driver of a commercial vehicle may not consume alcohol within 4 hours of being on duty or operating a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle. A trucking company not only has an obligation to prevent a driver from driving if the driver appears to have consumed alcohol within 4 hours of coming on duty, but the trucking company also is obligated to place the driver out of service for a mandatory 24 hour period.

A truck driver also cannot report for duty or remain on duty and perform a safety sensitive function if the driver has a .04 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is half the legal limit for non-commercial drivers. Operation of a tractor-trailer is among the tasks that are prohibited as a safety sensitive function if a driver has a BAC of .04 percent or above. Commercial carriers also have an obligation to keep drivers off the road if the driver has a BAC of .04 percent or higher. If the driver has a BAC below .04 percent but higher than .02 percent, the driver may not engage in a safety sensitive function for 24 hours after the alcohol test.

Trucking companies are also required to conduct a pre-employment alcohol screening unless certain limited circumstances apply. A new hire may not be permitted to engage in a safety sensitive function unless the driver submits to a pre-employment drug and alcohol screening and tests with less than a .04 percent BAC  as well as a negative result for controlled substances. The trucking company is not required to conduct a pre-employment alcohol screening if the driver has had a negative test within the last six (6) months, or the driver was subject to random screening for the last twelve (12) months with no violations within the previous six (6) month period. If the trucking company does not conduct a pre-employment drug and alcohol screening under these exceptions, it must obtain a copy of the prospective driver's records from the previous drug-testing program.

While this is hardly a comprehensive discussion regarding all regulations that pertain to alcohol use by a truck driver, they show the importance of understanding the laws, regulations, and industry practices that affect truck drivers in trucking accident claims. If you or someone you love has been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, our experienced trucking accident lawyers have helped many people just like you.

Contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

If a trucking accident has left you or a loved one injured, it is important that you consider speaking with a Georgia Trucking Accident and Injury Attorney at Montlick & Associates as soon as possible. Trucking accidents can leave you with excessive medical bills, lost income, and Pain and Suffering. At Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, our firm has more than 35 years of experience helping injured individuals from all over Georgia.

If you would like to discuss your or a loved one's personal injuries with one of our Georgia Trucking Attorneys, contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law today by calling (800) LAW-NEED (529-6333) to schedule your free consultation. You may also visit us online at www.montlick.com to complete a Free Case Evaluation Form, and you may also participate in a 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law

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Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333
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Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.