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The regulations regarding drunk driving and commercial vehicles

Drunk driving is a very real problem across Massachusetts. Individuals who choose to drink and drive, which is far more than we care to think, put others in harm's way. Their intoxication can render them unable to maintain their lanes, their speed and properly perceive distances. Their reaction time can also be drastically reduced. Although many Massachusetts residents think of the everyday motorists when they think of drunk drivers, those who drive commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks and busses, can also be drunk behind the wheel. This can be even more problematic, as the sheer size of these vehicles can significantly increase the risk of harm.

Fortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has implemented regulations in an attempt to curtail drunk driving by drivers of commercial vehicles. Although under state law a motorist is considered intoxicated when blood-alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or higher, the FMCSA's regulations, with a cutoff of 0.04 percent, are more strict for commercial vehicle operators. The regulations also state that commercial drivers cannot operate their vehicles within four hours of consuming alcohol.

When a truck accident occurs, the trucker may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test and/or field sobriety tests. However, the FMCSA regulations also allow for drug testing in certain circumstances. This is important, as driving under the influence of drugs can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than drunk driving.

Although these regulations are aimed at preventing truck accidents, the sad truth of the matter is that drunk driving will continue to occur. Those who are injured by the negligence of another may have the option of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: FindLaw, "Commercial DUI Regulations," accessed on April 8, 2016

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