Socializing with colleagues over drinks can be a great way to unwind and build camaraderie. But for a driver who hauls hazardous materials for a living, enjoying a few drinks with coworkers can have serious consequences. If convicted of DUI, it is not just their driving privileges that will be at stake. They can even lose their jobs permanently.
A commercial vehicle that carries thousands of pounds of freight or hazardous materials puts a heightened risk of a drunk driving accident. Taking this into consideration, hazmat drivers normally get subjected to harsher penalties.
Penalties for a CDL DUI arrest
In addition to regular penalties that regular drivers may face for a DUI, commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders could also be subject to an automatic license suspension. For hazmat drivers, the suspension may even last up to three years. Refusing to be tested could result in the permanent revocation of their license.
Note that drunk driving levels for CDL drivers are also lower at 0.04 percent BAC and they may lose their CDL even if they are driving a regular vehicle.
Possible criminal charges
Hazmat drivers may also face some criminal consequences depending on the nature of their violation or if any other infraction is involved. If an accident results in injury, death or damage to property, they may face jail time. They may also be required to pay fines, attend an alcohol treatment program, serve probation or perform community service.
Unemployment and financial burden
A commercial driver convicted of DUI must usually report what happened to their employer. They may lose their job depending on the terms of their employment. The driver may also face financial consequences like reinstatement fees to reacquire their license. Insurance rates will likely spike. They may also be required to pay for installing and maintaining an ignition interlock device.
The seriousness of the consequences a hazmat driver may face after a DUI charge is definite. But by making responsible choices when socializing, and being mindful of the potential dangers, drivers can keep themselves and others safe on the road while maintaining a clean CDL.