There is no such thing as a good DUI, but a truck driver DUI is the worst kind. It can have far-reaching consequences.
Endangering the Public
For starters, a big rig in the hands of an intoxicated driver is not a comforting thought. The injuries an out-of-control truck can cause on a busy roadway are unimaginable.
For example, a long-distance truck driver passing through Illinois operated his vehicle while drunk. He struck a sedan and overturned. The collision ignited a fatal fire that engulfed the car’s driver. According to the police report. he died at the scene and his two passengers received hospital treatment.
The trucker sustained only minor injuries and initially, only received a ticket at the scene of the accident. However, soon after that, authorities issued a felony arrest warrant on the DUI charge.
Receiving a Suspension
A DUI triggers the suspension of a commercial driver’s license. And a trucker doesn’t have to be trucking in order to lose his license. Offenses committed while driving a non-commercial vehicle such as his family car also count.
Once a truck driver has a DUI he is automatically out of work for a minimum of one year. This is in compliance with federal trucking guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. During that time he cannot legally operate any commercial motor vehicle.
The first offense suspension for a DUI can also extend past one year. It can stretch to three years if the DUI occurred while the driver transported hazardous materials.
A truck driver’s career can survive only one DUI. A second DUI means that he faces a lifetime disqualification of his commercial driver’s license.
The law gives a trucker 30 days to inform his employer of any traffic conviction. And if his commercial driver’s license is suspended, disqualified, revoked or canceled, he must quickly let his employee know. He should do so by the end of the next business day.
Getting a New License
The road to regaining a commercial driver’s license after a DUI can be a long one. If convicted, a trucker will have to complete all court-ordered programs and pay all related fines. For example, he may have been ordered to attend a substance abuse program.
A driver may also be required to pass skills and knowledge tests. Also, he might be instructed to have a face-to-face meeting. He’ll be interviewed by a representative from the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles Operator Control office.
The Operator Control office then decides whether or not to issue a reinstatement notice. If the notice is issued, the driver has to take the reinstatement notice to his local DMV. He needs to bring along proof of his identity and proof of his address. He also has to pay the DUI reinstatement documentation fee of $351.50.
Other possible fees include $26.50 for each driving and knowledge test; $11.50 for a CDL application; $26.50 for a duplicate CDL; and $81.50 for a CDL 5-year renewal.
Getting a New Job After a Truck Driver DUI
And even after the year’s suspension of the commercial driver’s license ends there’s no guarantee of finding another trucking job. It’s doubtful that his old employer will reinstate him. He got behind the wheel of a company truck while under the influence of an intoxicating substance. That brings into question his reliability, sense of responsibility and respect for the company.
The larger the trucking enterprise, the less likely it is to hire a driver with a DUI. Large companies find it necessary to carry extensive insurance policies in order to secure the contracts of huge clients. A truck driver with a DUI represents a financial risk. This is especially true if his DUI was in connection with an accident.
So, a truck driver DUI can force a driver to seek employment at a small-to-midsize trucking business. The new job might pay a fraction of his former salary. And this is after at least one year of not earning any money at all in his chosen profession.
Many firms will not hire truckers with a DUI until at least three years have passed since the conviction. Most companies are even more careful. They won’t consider employing a trucker with a DUI until five or even seven years after the incident.
Honoring a Trust
Transporting goods across America in a commercial vehicle is an important job. Naturally, authorities want to make sure that the job is in the hands of competent, trustworthy people. They take seriously any violation of that trust. Therefore, all commercial drivers should take their responsibility equally seriously.
It is possible to regain a CDL after a DUI, but it’s not a simple or quick process. It’s far better for a commercial driver to get behind the wheel only when he’s sober. That way he completely avoids the risk of receiving a dreaded truck driver DUI.