Although penalties vary by state, drivers with CDLs convicted of driving under the influence or driving while impaired face suspension or revocation of their driving credentials. The length of suspension or revocation depends on the nature of the offense and the driver’s record.
DUI is a serious penalty for any driver, but especially for those holding commercial driving licenses, since the courts tend to hold CDL drivers to higher standards. Because holders of CDLs who drive impaired post a serious threat to public safety and liability to their employers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets greater standards of accountability for these drivers.
In most states, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations govern DUI penalties for drivers with CDLs. Although some states adopt a zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving, the administration sets the blood alcohol concentration limit for CDL drivers at 0.04, which is half of the legal limit in many states. In addition, rules state that CDL drivers cannot operate commercial vehicles within four hours of alcohol consumption.
CDL drivers must also notify the employer within 30 days of DUI, even if the offense did not occur while driving a commercial vehicle. The courts generally enhance the length of license suspension for CDL drivers, and convicted DUI CDL drivers often pay exorbitant reinstatement fees once cleared to drive again.