Understanding Laws Surrounding Semi Drivers And Alcohol Use

Posted on: 27 May 2018


If you have been injured by a semi truck driver on the road, then it may be in your best interest to speak with an attorney who specializes in these sorts of incidents. Semi drivers are held to a higher standard when it comes to the rules of the road. If you find that the driver had been drinking alcohol before the accident, then there may even be special rules in this regard. Keep reading to learn what they may be.

Four=Hour Rule

You may know that truck drivers are only allowed to drive a certain number of hours within a specific time frame. Typically, they cannot drive more than 70 hours in an 8-day period. There are also rules stating that semi drivers cannot drive more than 11 or 14 hours after 10 hours off-duty, depending on the amount of time the driver rested during the last rest period.

There are also time frame rules when it comes to alcohol, and they are fairly specific, just like the general drive time and rest ones. Specifically, the driver cannot drive or complete any safety-related task within four hours of having an alcoholic drink. This means that loading and unloading cannot be completed during the four hour period.

Also, the drivers must have a BAC below .04. This is about half the blood alcohol concentration allowed for other drivers, which is at .08 in all states. This means that if a semi driver consumes a great deal of alcohol and waits four hours to drive, they may still be liable for driving under the influence dues to a BAC above .04.

Supervisor Rules

There are some special laws in place to keep semi drivers off the road if they have consumed alcohol. For example, if a supervisor or an owner knows that a truck driver has consumed alcohol, then they are obligated to keep the driver off the road. Additionally, if a truck driver informs their supervisor that they have consumed alcohol, then they will not have to drive the semi truck. This admission keeps the driver from facing harsh consequences. In other words, they are protected from legal action as long as they tell the truth.

Another deterrent to keeping drivers off the road who have consumed alcohol is the fact that all drivers must submit to a breathalyzer after an accident, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it. 

If you want to know more about alcohol use, the laws surrounding semi drivers, and the types of things that can help you to win a case against a semi driver using alcohol and causing an accident, speak with a semi truck accident attorney or do some additional reading.