How a DUI Affects Commercial Drivers

How a DUI Affects Commercial Drivers

Drinking and driving is a serious offense that can have far-reaching repercussions for anyone. However, the consequences of a DUI become even more severe when you rely on your driving privileges to make a living. Commercial drivers spend their workdays in the driver’s seat, which means they have an obligation to be safe and responsible on the road. Disregarding this responsibility puts themselves, their jobs, and other drivers in danger. That’s why traffic violations—such as drinking and driving—come with stricter rules and consequences for anyone with a commercial driver’s license. Learn how a DUI affects commercial drivers with this overview.

Stricter Standards for Commercial Vehicles

When you drive a personal vehicle, you must have a blood alcohol content level of less than .08 percent—this is the federal legal limit in all states and Washington D.C. However, this limit is even lower for those driving commercial vehicles. When professional drivers operate their commercial vehicles, they are managing company property. To protect themselves, their vehicles, and the company’s reputation, they must adhere to stricter rules. When operating a CMV, or commercial motor vehicle, drivers must have a blood alcohol content level of less than .04 percent. While this is the federal standard, some states will have even stricter rules for specific commercial driver’s licenses. That’s why it’s crucial to check the laws of each state your job takes you to.

Losing Your CDL

License suspension or revocation is a common DUI consequence. Any driver who faces a DUI charge will lose their license for a time. However, commercial drivers face a much longer suspension than other drivers. While states will suspend a personal license for as little as just a few months, you could lose your CDL for as long as a year for your first offense. A second offense might lead to you losing your CDL for life. Not only does this affect your driving privileges, but it also has a drastic impact on your career. Even if you reinstate your CDL, some companies might refuse to hire you after your conviction.

Higher Insurance Rates

Auto insurance is a huge part of how a DUI affects commercial drivers. After a DUI charge or other major traffic violation, you might have to pay for SR22 insurance on your policy. This penalty can be stressful for anyone, but it’s particularly detrimental for commercial drivers—especially if you’re an independent contractor who owns your own commercial vehicle. With more of your pay going toward your insurance, you may have difficulties maintaining a reliable income. 

If you’re a commercial driver struggling with an SR22 insurance requirement, make sure you’re getting the best deal possible on your policy. Work with Serenity Group to learn more about the specific requirements of the SR22 in California or anywhere else you work and reside. We’ll help you compare quotes and find an auto insurance policy that allows you to keep doing what you love.