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Why Commercial Drivers Have a Stricter BAC Limit

a taxi driver wearing a mask

Most people are familiar with the figure 0.08% and recognize it as the legal limit for alcohol concentration in a driver’s blood. However, what many people may not realize is that this limit is cut in half for commercial drivers. We discuss why this is the case and what may happen when commercial drivers exceed this legal limit.

Commercial Drivers’ BAC Limit

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) refers to the amount of alcohol present in the bloodstream. It has been determined that, in order for a motorist to operate a vehicle safely, their BAC may not exceed 0.08%. This number has been determined to be much less for commercial drivers.

Commercial drivers have a BAC limit at half that for other motorists. Commercial drivers’ BAC may not exceed 0.04%. There are several reasons for this, including:

  • Commercial drivers often operate vehicles much larger than passenger vehicles. This means that, if an accident were to occur, the consequences would be much more catastrophic.
  • Commercial drivers may transport passengers, as is the case with bus drivers, taxi drivers, and more. This means that commercial drivers are responsible not only for their own safety, but for the safety of their passengers as well.
  • Commercial drivers may transport hazardous substances, such as gasoline, toxic chemicals, and more. This means that, if an accident were to occur, the scene of the crash could spread much further or pose significant health hazards to passersby.

All of these reasons illustrate the enhanced responsibility that commercial drivers have. Therefore, commercial drivers are held to a higher standard than other motorists. If a commercial driver does exceed their legal BAC limit, they may experience the following effects:

  • 0.04-0.06%: Minor impairment of reasoning and memory
  • 0.07-0.09%: Mild impairment of balance, speech, vision, and control
  • 0.10-0.12%: Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of judgment
  • 0.13-0.15%: Gross impairment of motor control; onset of dysphoria (anxiety and restlessness)
  • 0.16-0.20%: Dysphoria predominates and nausea may appear
  • 0.25-0.30%: Severe intoxication; needs assistance walking; dysphoria with nausea and some vomiting
  • 0.35-0.40%: Loss of consciousness
  • 0.40% and up: Onset of coma; likelihood of death due to respiratory failure

Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact Us Today

If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash caused by an intoxicated trucker, our Los Angeles trial attorneys are here to help. We have the experience and resources needed to protect your rights against large trucking companies and their insurers. Learn how we can help you today.

Call Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP at (866) 634-4525 to schedule a free consultation.