When a driver of commercial vehicle decides to drink and drive, that person is making a decision that never results in a positive outcome, whether the result is being pulled over and facing consequences or a tragic truck accident. Florida holds commercial drivers to higher standards than regular vehicles. The unlawful blood alcohol content (BAC) level of regular drivers is .08, while the law states that .04 BAC is considered impaired for commercial drivers. Additionally, Florida lists other acts that could disqualify the driving privileges of commercial drivers.
If, within a 3-year period, a commercial driver is convicted of any two of the following traffic violations, in incidents which are separate, even if committed in a noncommercial vehicle, they will lose their commercial driving privilege:
- A violation of any motor vehicle law, state or local, connected with a crash that results in death;
- Reckless driving;
- Unlawful speed (15 miles per hour or more) above the posted limits;
- Improper lane change;
- Following too closely;
- Driving commercial vehicle without valid commercial license; or
- Driving a commercial vehicle without the proper class permit or license.
Commercial license holders will lose their driving privilege for a year, even if they are driving a noncommercial vehicle, if they are conviction of any of the following:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Driving while BAC is .04 percent or above;
- Leaving the scene of an accident;
- Using a motor vehicle to carry out a felony;
- Refusing to submit to an alcohol concentration test while driving a vehicle;
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle when their license is revoked, suspended, or canceled; or
- Acting negligently and causing a fatality while operating a commercial vehicle.
These laws were not to make life harder on commercial drivers, but rather to protect other drivers and passengers on Florida roadways. In 2009, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT), 529 large truck occupants died in crashes. The same year, 20,000 large truck occupants were injured. And, annually, the DOT estimates that 500,000 accidents involving commercial trucks occur every year.
Unfortunately, neither the statistics nor the laws deter all commercial drivers from reckless driving. There are still plenty of commercial drivers who think they can ignore the laws. If a negligent commercial driver has injured you, contact an experienced Tampa Bay truck accident lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve. Reach out to our firm today for assistance.