Why do commercial drivers have a higher BAC limit?

Griffin Law, PLLC
Apr 20, 2023

The law expects every driver to know they should not get behind the wheel if they have alcohol in their system. But while this expectation applies to everyone, the law holds commercial drivers to a higher standard. Like other states, North Carolina imposes a .04% legal limit on commercial drivers’ blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, which is higher than the .08% limit for regular adult drivers.

But why?

Risk of more severe injuries and death

Commercial drivers usually operate bigger and heavier vehicles, such as buses, trucks, trailers and heavy equipment vehicles. Because of this, the risk of sustaining severe injuries or death in a collision with a commercial vehicle is higher than in noncommercial vehicle collisions.

Risk to passenger safety

When we think of commercial vehicles, we normally think of trucks. But this category also includes passenger transport such as buses and taxi cabs. If the operator drives under the influence, they will risk not only their safety but those of their passengers.

Risk to public health

Many commercial vehicles transport hazardous substances, such as fuel, solvents, pesticides and other toxic substances. If the vehicle carrying the toxic substance gets into a crash, there could be a leak or an explosion that could pose health risks to other motorists, passersby and nearby residents.

If drivers fail their BAC test, they can face serious consequences, including license suspension or revocation, fines and jail time. Moreover, depending on the facts of the case, the driver’s company may also be held responsible for injuries and fatalities. It is important for all motorists to drive sober to avoid impairment and accident risks.

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