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Thomas Carroll Blauvelt

How are drunk driving rules different for commercial drivers?

Drunk driving is a common criminal offense in New Jersey. Anyone from a teenager leaving a party to a bus driver is at risk of impaired driving allegations if they get behind the wheel after having something to drink.

People face different standards for their driving and penalties vary if they get caught driving after having too much to drink. Those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are subject to strict regulations regarding their driving behaviors.

How is a New Jersey drunk driving charge different for someone with a commercial license than for someone with a regular driver’s license?

They can face charges after drinking half as much

Someone with a commercial driver’s license is subject to a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit than those driving a regular passenger vehicle. If someone operating a commercial vehicle like a semitruck or a bus has a BAC of 0.04% or higher, a police officer could arrest them for drunk driving. For those in standard passenger vehicles, the BAC limit is 0.08%.

Far fewer drinks could lead to drunk driving charges for those in commercial vehicles, and many transportation companies have zero-tolerance policies for drinking before work, making any BAC above 0 an offense that could cost them their jobs if not their licenses.

They can face professional issues for personal mistakes

A driver does not have to get drunk on the job to face the loss of their CDL. Any impaired driving conviction, including one in their own vehicle, can lead to the loss of eligibility for a commercial license.

Under New Jersey state law, a drunk driving offense in someone’s passenger vehicle will result in losing their CDL for a year. A second drunk driving offense in a passenger vehicle will lead to the permanent loss of their eligibility for a commercial license. In other words, a mistake made off the clock could permanently end someone’s career as a commercial driver under New Jersey state law.

Fighting impaired driving charges is very important for commercial drivers

Any professional might face major consequences for a criminal conviction, but even off-the-clock drunk driving offenses could be career-ending for a commercial driver. Learning more about the law in New Jersey can help a transportation professional respond to pending drunk driving allegations.