TRB Special Report 216: Zero Alcohol and Other Options: Limits for Truck and Bus Drivers includes a majority recommendations for the of the members of the committee that produced this report that a zero tolerance policy be adopted, with penalties ranging from 30 days suspension below 0.04 percent BAC to license revocation for BAC above 0.04. USDOT subsequently adopted a 0.04 percent BAC standard, with a 1-year revocation for offenses at or above that level on the first offense.
Roughly 15 percent of commercial operators involved in fatal crashes had been drinking, according to the best available information in the early 1980s. While commercial operators fare better in this regard than the average motorist involved in alcohol-related crashes, there is considerably less tolerance for any alcohol impairment among drivers while working. The victims of crashes involving heavy trucks, regardless of which driver is at fault, are most often the operators of the smaller vehicles.
Performance on driving-related tasks decreases at any BAC above zero, and crash risk increases sharply as BAC rises. Enforcement at low BAC levels is problematic, however, because assessing driver impairment, even with the assistance of breath analysis devices, is more difficult than at higher BAC levels.
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