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Trucking industry gets tougher on CDL holders who drink or drug

The DUI laws applicable to those with a commercial driver license are tougher than those with a license for a non-commercial automobile. In fact, truckers in Kentucky must abide by a law with zero tolerance when it comes to any amount of alcohol or controlled substance.

Strict alcohol limits on CDL holders

Some quantifiable alcohol limits and penalties are as follows:

  • 0.01 to 0.039 percent blood alcohol concentration disqualifies a driver from service for 24 hours
  • 0.04 or more percent blood alcohol concentration takes the driver out of service for 12 months
  • A second conviction includes a lifetime disqualification from providing commercial service

The disqualification penalties only apply to CDL allowances and not a person’s non-CDL driving privilege, which would fall under those applicable DUI laws in Kentucky.

Truckers not immune to illegal drug use

However, despite these strict laws, the trucking industry is experiencing an impact from the drug epidemic hitting people throughout the United States. A recent example is a trucker arrested for driving his truck under the influence of methamphetamines. His two children were in the truck at the time.

According to the Kentucky Trucking Association, Kentucky is home to nearly 15,000 trucking companies, big and small. It may be that the influence of a more lenient attitude toward drug use in society is making the hiring of safe drivers a difficult task in the trucking industry.

Kentucky State Police report that in 2015 there were 32 drug related tickets issued to commercial vehicle drivers. This was an increase of over 14 percent over the prior year and over 33 percent over two years.

With a new tool coming out from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, hiring companies will be able to check a free database where others can report prior trucker issues such as refusals to take employer drug test or failing such test. Companies will be hard pressed to justify the hiring of any CDL holder who has fallen onto the database once this ability to communicate within the industry expands to include this important information.

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