The state of Michigan does necessarily consider a “normal” driver legally drunk until his or her blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.08%. However, if an individual has a commercial driver’s license, that legal limit for a DUI arrest drops dramatically since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration holds truck drivers to a higher standard. After all, they operate vehicles that are large and can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds.
In fact, it is not just the weight and size of the vehicles that led to the current FMCSA rules. Truck drivers usually spend significantly more time driving than others do, and they may carry hazardous materials that could cause significant harm to people and the environment in an accident. For this reason, the FMCSA allows police officers in any jurisdiction across the country, including here in Michigan, to arrest a driver with a CDL on suspicion of drunk driving with a BAC of only 0.04%.
While many truck drivers would never drink alcohol while driving their rigs, this rule applies to their personal vehicles as well. A BAC of 0.04% equates to one, maybe two, beers depending on the person. For this reason, the best practice for truck drivers is not to drink at all if they know they will be driving.
In an ideal world, every truck driver would always follow that rule. However, people make mistakes, and anyone facing a DUI charge could spend time in jail and pay fines if convicted. The difference is that a truck driver also loses his or her livelihood to a CDL suspension or revocation. Most trucking companies terminate a driver’s employment if that happens, and finding another job in the future could prove problematic. This makes challenging a DUI charge imperative for any truck driver who wants the chance to avoid losing his or her CDL license and livelihood.