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Commercial drivers and driving under the influence

Commercial drivers in Massachusetts are responsible to the public in a variety of ways, from driving children to and from school to transporting hazardous materials. As a result, there are stricter laws and penalties regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to FindLaw, commercial drivers are randomly tested for alcohol use as well as for drugs such as opiates, cocaine, PCP, marijuana and amphetamines. The legal BAC limit is also .04, which is much lower than the .08 limit for other motor vehicle operators. Along with not being able to drive a commercial vehicle if alcohol has been consumed in the previous four hours, the rules are a bit different in terms of the blood alcohol test. While other drivers automatically lose their licenses if they refuse the test, commercial drivers are immediately pleading guilty to a DUI if they refuse.

According to the Massachusetts Government, a DUI can severely affect a commercial driver's ability to earn a living because of their license suspensions. Driving under the influence results in their commercial license being taken away for one year for a first offense. If the driver was driving a vehicle that contained hazardous materials, the suspension is for three years. With a second offense, the license is gone for life. Compared with other drivers who are sometimes eligible for a hardship license, these types of licenses are not available for a commercial driver which makes it almost impossible to work in the industry as a vehicle operator during the suspension period.  


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